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Everybody needs an Onesiphorus in his or her life.

Someone who is a friend through the toughest of times.

The Apostle Paul had a friend like this and it made a big difference in his life.

You know, of course, the very difficult times that Paul faced because of persecution against his faith.

Onesiphorus loved Paul, loved God and did all he could to serve both via an undying friendship.

This display of loyalty must have done wonders for Paul’s need of encouragement.

Here are Paul’s words to describe the value of the friendship with Onesiphorus:

May the Lord show special kindness to Onesiphorus and all his family because he often visited and encouraged me. He was never ashamed of me because I was in chains. When he came to Rome, he searched everywhere until he found me. May the Lord show him special kindness on the day of Christ’s return. And you know very well how helpful he was in Ephesus.” (2 Timothy 1:16-18)

Pray that God send a friend like Onesiphorus into your life so that you’ll be more encouraged in your service to God.

More importantly, pray that God transform you into a friend like Onesiphorus so that you might provide the depth of devotion and love for someone who is pouring his or her life into serving the Lord in the midst of difficult obstacles.

Perhaps you’ll be an Onesiphorus for a missionary serving overseas, sending repeated letters and gifts of encouragement as you build an ever-strengthening friendship.

Perhaps you’ll be an Onesiphorus for a Christian co-worker who is catching all sorts of grief because he or she won’t compromise morally or ethically as are other employees of the company.

Perhaps you’ll be an Onesiphorus for your pastor who is facing hassles because of his leadership efforts to change the culture of apathy within your congregation.

Be the friend that others need. Be an Onesiphorus.

In doing so, you’ll be “God with skin on” for one serving the Lord.

As always, I love you
Martin

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Sometimes we humans are tricked by our human nature into seeing ungodly choices as if they were hidden eggs in a childhood Easter egg hunt.

We’re not quite sure where the godless eggs of “Get ‘em good” revenge tactics or unjust riches or illicit sex are hiding, but we’re sure racing sometimes to find them before somebody else does.

It’s really sad when you think about how often this happens, even among Christians.

This should not be, of course.

For any of us.

And yet, we’ve all fallen and come short of the glory of God.

The specific failure varies from person to person, but the fact of sin is universal.

And it has been since the Garden of Eden, other than for our sinless Savior Jesus Christ.

God loves people and He wants them to follow a better, spiritually brighter path.

That’s why He calls certain people into Christian leadership — to help others step onto and stay on that path.

To succeed in that mission of avoiding the “godless egg” hunts, the leaders are to set the example of what God desires.

And that’s why the Apostle Paul wrote the following words to his ministry apprentice Timothy.

But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you.” (I Timothy 6:11-12)

The evil things to which Paul was referring included the chasing of riches, an unhealthy desire to debate over the definition of words and other foolish and harmful desires that “plunge” people into ruin and destruction.

Paul is not saying we have no need of income. He’s not saying we should ignore false teaching in the church. And he’s not saying it’s wrong to enjoy the privileges of married romance.

What he IS saying, instead, is to place the things of God listed above at the top of our priority list.

This is what people of God do as they are running away from those things that are such dangerous threats.

Yes, they are dangerous and can destroy us.

I would never walk up to a grizzly bear and ask to dance. If I saw one coming toward me, I’d run as fast as I could.

Listen, a grizzly is a teddy bear compared to Satan.

Let’s make sure we run from him and his schemes.

As always, I love you
Martin

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There are a number of clear, artesian springs in North Central Florida where millions of gallons of pristine water gushes from the Florida aquifer each day.

Many of these have been turned into tourist attractions by the state government with others serving as the magnets for private tourism operations.

They are stunning to behold since most inland bodies of water are murky because of suspended sediment or because of pollution.

If you’ve ever visited one of these springs — Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida is perhaps the most famous — you’ve been astounded by the clarity and perhaps have even dove in for a swim in what seems to be “liquid air.”

Now imagine the disgust you would feel if you saw a garbage truck backing up to the water’s edge and then you watched it dump 50,000 pounds of decaying, stinky refuse into the crystal clear spring.

You’d be calling 911 before the truck back-up alarm stopped beeping.

That’s horrible!” you’d shout as you tried to get the driver to stop what he was doing.

As the filth filled the spring, thoughts of drinking from it would disappear. Thoughts of enjoying a refreshing swim would cease.

You’d feel sad, actually, that what was created by God with such beauty had been corrupted by a human choice.

Now, consider this verse from my devotional reading this morning:

“If the godly give in to the wicked, it’s like polluting a fountain or muddying a spring.” (Proverbs 25:26)

Please, my friends, don’t give in to the temptations Satan sends your way.

Don’t join in when others gossip.

Don’t think Happy Hour puts a smile on God’s face.

Don’t look at porn witht the same eyes that hope to see the Lord.

Don’t hold grudges in the same heart that has been saved by grace.

Jesus said that He came so that a fountain of Living Water could flow from all who accepted Him as Lord and Savior.

Let’s fill our lives with that which is clean so that whatever flows from our lives is clear and Christlike, refreshing all those in our lives.

As always, I love you
Martin

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When a family member or dear friend is having a hard time, we typically find the time to pray for him or her.

Why? Because we love him or her, we want the situation to improve, we know that God has the ability to bring about changes and provide inner strength so desperately needed.

But what about when hard times are faced by people we barely know? By people we perhaps wish we didn’t know?

Intercessory prayer is not to be a matter of nurturing a buddy list.

It is, instead, to be a matter of seeking God’s intervention into the lives of those around us in order for them to experience better lives.

Even more, prayer is the opportunity for us to thank God for all the people in our lives, not just our family and friends.

This is not my invented philosophy. This is the command of God.

“I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.” (I Timothy 2:1)

The Apostle Paul had plenty of people who hated him and wanted him dead.

He had even more people who didn’t like him and didn’t care if anything good happened to him.

Yet, Paul prayed for God to help them all. He prayed that pagan government employees would sense God’s leading and do the right things to protect society.

I’m sure that he thanked God for the opportunity to display his faith in ways that helped others and glorified God.

And so should we.

Let’s make sure that everybody in our corner of the world — yes, even that person who doesn’t like us — is lifted up in positive, intercessory prayer. Let’s ask God to help them.

And even if we have to tell our prideful nature to “Cease, be still,” let’s give thanks for those who give us grief.

One other thing….

This isn’t to happen only when we feel like it.

This is to be job #1, Paul said.

Wow.

I’d better get to praying…..

As always, I love you
Martin

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So why does your Sunday School teacher teach?

Why does your home Bible study leader lead?

Why does your preacher preach?

In fact, why does anybody teach within the life of the church?

To make disciples, that’s why.

To aid believers’ growth from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity.

To lovingly help people become the agents of ministry that God saved them and shapes them to be.

I want to become more effective with teaching, leading, preaching, growing, loving.

According to the Apostle Paul, my effectiveness will increase as I increasingly possess and display a pure heart, a clear conscience and a genuine faith.

Here is Paul’s recipe for godly instruction that produces the loving believers that God desires and the world needs:

“The purpose of my instruction is that all believers would be filled with love that comes from a pure heart, a clear conscience, and genuine faith.” (I Timothy 1:5)

I pray that you know several Christians who appear to possess pure hearts, clear consciences and genuine faith

For you will surely be blessed with their love.

Want to be more loving to the people in your life? To the point of overflowing?

Fill your mind with scripture. Fill your heart with prayer and praise. Fill your day with acts of love toward others.

You’ll be filling God’s heart with joy and you’ll be filling your heart with the blessing of knowing you’re a vessel of love to others.

You’ll also be showing Satan that there’s no room in your life for his garbage.

And that’s a very good thing.

As always, I love you
Martin

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