Monday, December 16, 2013
On Sunday, a lady came by the preschool desk (my volunteer job) and gave a knitted bell to my co-worker and to me. To my knowledge, I have never seen her before but she was passing on the spirit of Christ during this Christmas season. She reminded us to give the joy of Christ to others.
In the last few days, I have given out several of our new HeartCall Bibles. These use our logo of a heart, cross and an arrow to share the gospel message. I am amazed and how many who say they will read it! Today I gave one to two ladies who spoke little English. I also gave them a copy of the HeartCall Spanish-English tract. They seemed grateful and interested. I pray that God uses His Word to reach the hearts of His kids, as well as those who want to know Him.
Regardless of how you give during this Christmas season, whether it be by knitting bells or giving Bibles, I pray that when you give, you will share the joy of the Lord and the promise of salvation. It IS the Christmas season and it was...and still is...an announcement of great joy! Ring the bells! Share the Good News! Pass on the love of Christ every way you can!
Merry Christmas to all,
You can order HeartCall Bibles and other resources at www.jayemartin.com/shop. If you would rather give so we can train people to go, visit our give page at www.jayemartin.com/give. Blessings to all!
Thursday, December 12, 2013
- First, they were terrified by the angel that visited them in the fields (v. 9). Who wouldn't be? A heavenly creature appeared during their work shift and in the dark.
- They went to see what the angel had told them (vv. 15-16). After hearing the angel's message that the Savior was born in Bethlehem, they decided to check it out. They were filled with joy to see that what the angels had told them about Jesus was so accurate.
- They praised God and told others what the angels had told them about the Child (vv. 17-18, 20). And they brought glory to God.
"But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord'" (Luke 2:10-11).
Monday, December 2, 2013
On this cyber Monday, you may catch yourself glancing at all the sale messages in your inbox or on Facebook and for just a moment think that your hope is in finding the perfect gift at an unbelievable price and that securing it will give you and others the ultimate gift of hope for a cheery season. Be not mislead. While the ads promise all these things, in our hearts we know that the only real hope we have is in Christ.
Christ is the perfect gift. He is all knowing, all understanding, all sufficient, all powerful, and
The psalmist says to wait in silence for God only; and reminds us that our hope is in Him. No matter what the Christmas season brings, we are not shaken if we hope in Him. He is our rest, strength, salvation, refuge and more. As we pour out our hearts to Him, He meets us at our point of need.
Amy Grant's song, I need a little silent night, really speaks to me. http://www.metrolyrics.com/i-need-a-silent-night-lyrics-amy-grant.html#startvideo
Take a moment and listen. Let's live the hope we know we have. Let's share it with others so they too may have the hope of Christ this Christmas.
Hope in Christ is the first chapter in our new work, HeartCall New Heart: What it Means to Believe. Find it in the shop. Bless someone this Christmas with our Fresh Start Kit: this book, the Bible, the journal and our new devotional book. www.jayemartin.com/shop.
Thursday, November 21, 2013
With Thanksgiving coming up, I bet you've heard lately, "What are you thankful for?" At the same time, I have been seeing a flood of ads that suggest what we may need for Christmastime.
My prayer is that as we realize our blessings and our needs, we are drawn to an even deeper relationship with God. This may seem odd in a society that often praises independence and self-reliance. Yet, I know God is stronger than anything I can do myself. So, when I read the passage above, I long to have a solid trust in God like King Hezekiah's.
Hezekiah's trust was not only remarkable in itself but also stood out among his generation. How did he trust? Hezekiah clung to the Lord. He persevered in following God and keeping His commandments.
There's a world full of people who may be noticing their blessings or needs this season. In prayer, let's ask for moments to share about God, the One we trust with our lives. Let's share stories of what He has done in our hearts and lives, and what He can and wants to do in anothers' heart and life.
"Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah" (Psalm 62:8).
Monday, November 11, 2013
Nor stand in the path of sinners,
Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
And in His law he meditates day and night.
3 He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers. (Psalm 1:1-3, NASB)
Last night, I looked at my Twitter feed. I do love social media. I love seeing the clips and thoughts and things happening. I love the photos on Facebook and I love to keep up with people. The difficult side is that I just don't have the time to see all the posts and to respond to each one. The further challenge is that I can be distracted by those who are not responding to me. Not good! I found myself frustrated by the need to promote and connect with thousands of people. I also found myself discouraged that I was "not where I needed to be" in getting the word out about my ministry.
Yet this morning, there it was...God's Word. Ready to instruct and encourage me. My worth is not found in Twitter or Facebook! Not a new thought but a timely reminder. My concentration needs to be on God and His Son; when it is, I delight in Him and He delights in me. His streams of water are better than any Twitter feed.
Spend time with Him today.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
- In contrast to fear, we find trust in Him: His kind of love does not feed on fear; rather, it encourages trust, hope and faith in Him and in who He is. He is full of goodness and faithfulness (Psalm 100). We can see His sacrificial, selfless love as He sent Jesus to die for us (Romans 5:8).
- In contrast to death, we find life in Him: He didn't stop there, though, as Jesus rose from the dead. He breathes new life to those who turn to Him in trust asking for forgiveness (Romans 10:9-10). He gives believers the Holy Spirit, and we are made new, as we are seen by Him as the forgiven, as white as snow (Isaiah 1:18). And He continues to be there to forgive us.
- In contrast to darkness, we find light in Him: His light shines like a beacon in the darkness. He is full of truth, goodness and mercy. He brought light into the world, and He wishes to light our paths and guide us (Psalm 119:105).
Jesus Culture's "One Thing Remains"
Monday, October 21, 2013
What are you doing to shine for Christ? Let's pray that our lights are shining bright!
Thursday, October 17, 2013
There is a popular slogan by Under Armour that says, "Protect This House." I think what it means is that as we exercise, we are helping our body by keeping it healthy. There are many other ways to seek physical health and protection. Where do you run for strength and protection?
Lately, this verse above has been on my mind. God sent Ezra and Nehemiah in these days to restore Jerusalem in very realistic, visual ways, as they rebuilt the temple and the city walls, respectively. The focus in this chapter is that as Ezra read God's law out loud, the people began weeping.
Why were they weeping? These people were weeping at the reading of God's Word and as they realized their sins. I think God's Word can be challenging and lovely at the same time. We can see He is holy and deserves the utmost respect and worship, and I think the people may have felt regret or sadness over their sin.
He can restore us today as well, as we turn to Him in belief and with a heart of repentance. He gave His Word out of love, so that we could know Him more. It is good to be sorrowful over our sins so that we see the need to turn from them and toward God, but we must trust that God also lets us turn to Him and come to Him. He is a forgiver. Let's embrace that and walk in faith in that.
Let's take a moment to praise Him because He has shown how He wants to restore us. Let's share with others, by word and by action, our source of joy and strength.
Check out all of the first part of chapter 8 in Nehemiah here: Nehemiah 8:1-12 (NLT)
Thursday, October 10, 2013
|- C.S. Lewis|
God may seem silent, or His voice may seem like thunder. Either way, He can't go against His nature. He is Immanuel, God with us.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
The past few weeks, I feel as though my mind has been cluttered and chaotic. Between working, trying to do school work and wedding planning, it seems hard to focus my mind on accomplishing any one task because there are so many others to do.
While reflecting on this last night, the Lord called to my mind Isaiah 26:3, which says, "the steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You." In the ESV, it reads, "You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you" (emphasis mine). There are three aspects of this verse that struck me:
Sunday, September 29, 2013
I find myself drowning in a sea of clutter. Thousands are of emails clog my inbox, my to-do list seems to fill my journal, numerous notes go unwritten and it feels like everything and everyone I see is in need of something. Whether the clutter comes from things to do or from accumulating dust or from laundry, I never seem to catch up. Burying myself under the load of responsibility only makes matters worse because tomorrow, there will be more emails that need a response, more things to do, notes to write and more people who think they need my help. Is anyone with me? Lol, don't send me an email!
It is times like this when I need to keep my perspective. In James, God clearly speaks
through His Word. If we need wisdom, we are to ask Him. We don't need to be blown by the wind and become wishy-washy, second-guessing each decision nor do we need to drown in the sea of doubting. We don't need to become paralyzed because we don't know what to do first, we need to ask God!
I find that sitting down and praying over my list brings new perspective. God helps me see what really needs to happen and what I need to act on. Sometimes things have to be left because they are good things but not the best things. I am so grateful to God that He never intended for me to be overwhelmed but He did intend me to ask Him for direction...and to act on what He wants me to do.
Today, let's ask Him for wisdom to that we do the best things and leave the rest!
Thursday, September 26, 2013
This past week, God has reminded me of how He is Creator and the supreme artist. God stands out to me in that He was the first artist. He has proved how He can take nothing and blank and turn it into something beautiful and life-giving.
greatest artist of all time.
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
This realization was extremely convicting for me. How often do we, when experiencing what we feel is an unrelenting storm, confidently expect the Lord's presence and deliverance? The disciples had just seen the Lord perform miracle after miracle; surely they would have believed in and recognized His power to do all things. They had already experienced the fact that "even the winds and the seas obey him." And yet, how easy it is to be so caught in the midst of our circumstances that our perspective and focus are on the storm and not on the One in control of the storm.
Throughout life, when we feel we are "straining at the oars," may this passage remind us that the Lord always knows and always arrives at just the right time. May we be convinced of His power to deliver us and His faithfulness to provide what we need.
Friday, September 20, 2013
"That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9)
When Jesus was dying on the cross, the thief on one side of him hurled insults at him. The thief on the other side of him said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom" (Luke 23:42).
At the very last minute, Jesus promises that thief that "Today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:43). Praise God that it is never too late to accept the forgiveness for our sins and know that we have eternal life in heaven.
My brother-in-law succumbed to the addiction of alcohol. Numerous attempts at rehabilitation failed because the strong pull of alcohol. He placed alcohol above everything--his wife, his two sons, his job (he had not worked for the past ten years) and everything. My sister kept telling him that he "needed to get right with God." I had shared the gospel in person, by phone and by letter in the past year--and he just was not ready to acknowledge that Jesus was the Son of God and that he could forgive him for his sins.
Monday, September 16, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
|Photo from dreamphemera.wordpress.com.|
Across the media in America yesterday were floods of memories of what happened on 9/11 in New York City. My friend reminded me of God's promises in the verses above. On that day, I remember the shock I felt. It seemed like it wasn't real for some time afterward.
As we honor those who work hard to protect our country and as we pray for them today, let us fully trust that in the end God will conquer all evil. He has power over it. What's more, because of Christ's sacrifice, God can bring redemption, peace and a renewed heart to a world in need of a Savior. How much we all need Him.
Do you know someone who is suffering or grieving? Let's pray for them or with them. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give us the words to say if we're given an opportunity to help them see more of who God is, this God who keeps His promises and saves.
This reminded me of how Queen Esther may have felt before asking the king, her new husband, to save her/God's people. Below are lyrics from a song about this (produced by VeggieTales actually):
"Mordecai: You wanted to know why you became queen
I told you God must have a reason
Perhaps he put you here, for such a time as this
Perhaps this is the reason.
"Esther: Tell me why, I don't understand
Tell me why, or show me your hand
Tell me why because I can't see my way through
What now... should I.. do?
We look to God above
For He will guide us safely through
and guard us with His love
"I will not be afraid
I will not run and hide
For there is nothing I can't face when God is at my side"
You can listen to a clip from this song on YouTube here.
You can read this part of the story with Esther and Mordecai on Bible Gateway here.
Tuesday, September 10, 2013
We can rest in the sovereignty and supremacy of our God. There is truly none like Him. In the midst of confusion and when we feel like we don't know the next step, we can be certain that God knows everything from the beginning to the end, even the things that have yet to happen. Not only that, but we can trust that there is nothing and no one that can keep the Lord from accomplishing what He has purposed or planned. Therefore, when circumstances or situations seem contrary to His character; when hardships or trials seem hopeless, when we feel uncertain of the future- we can have confidence in the plan of a God who can do all things.
Proverbs 21:1 says, "The king's heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will." Government decisions, work situations and relational circumstances are all within the Lord's sovereignty. None can upset or frustrate His plans. He works "all things according to the counsel of His will" (Ephesians 1:11). We can trust that the promises of the Lord will be accomplished.
Today, may we say with Job, "I know that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted" (Job 42:2). May we rest in the sovereignty, purposes and plan of our good and gracious God. May we be comforted that the Lord is the one who directs our steps (Proverbs 16:9) and His purposes always prevail (Proverbs 19:21).
Thursday, September 5, 2013
(1 Peter 1:22-25, The Voice).
I like this version from The Voice. As new creations, we are made alive by God's grace as we have turned to put our trust in Him as Lord and Savior. The body of Christ can come together and have a pure love like He does, since He fills us with the Holy Spirit and teaches us more of who He is. He can renew our hearts and help us forgive, reach out to and care for those around us. He can give us new eyes to see others as His precious creations that He can give new life to as well. We have known and have been filled with His love, and so we have the opportunity to multiply the world with a kind of love like God has shown.
Let's pray that God fills us with His love so we can extend it to others and point them to God who has shown us the deepest love we've ever seen.
A couple of worship songs: "Bones" and "Like an Avalanche" by Hillsong United (Live in Miami video with lyrics)
Photo from Pinterest and psweadoreyou.blogspot.com.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
I am currently studying the book of Romans in my personal time with the Lord. One of the recurring themes I have continued to find is the connection between our thoughts and sinful actions. Over and over again, I am seeing that the battle for sin begins in the mind. When our minds are centered on the Gospel, there is life and peace and the ability to obey God's law. However, when our minds are focused on ourselves and on worldly things, we are living in the flesh and unable to please God. Setting our minds "on the things of the Spirit" begins with thinking rightly about who God is and agreeing with what God says about us.
Today, may we take our thoughts captive in obedience to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and focus our minds on Gospel truths. May we "put to death the deeds of the body" (Romans 8:13) by walking according to the Spirit.
Monday, September 2, 2013
Your prayers are essential as we try to speak through interpreters! Pray that our words will be Spirit-filled and that many will be Gifted2Go when we leave! I would especially like your prayers as I speak to our faithful servants, to a conference for women, and to a young church. May we be an encouragement to those we meet!
After we return, I will tell you all the details. Until then, thank you for being our partners in prayer!
By the way, the spiral bound version of HeartCall New Heart is being printed right now! you can order either version at www.jayemartin.com/shop.
You are loved!
Friday, August 30, 2013
When Paul finished his sermon in Athens in Acts 17, there were several different types of responses. Some people sneered and mocked Paul. Others said, "We will think about it." But some believed!
Let's remind ourselves that Paul was in a pioneer area where no one had ever heard the gospel and this message was brand new to the Athenians. It was in fact "strange things to their ears" (Acts 17:20). However, God is not limited to a certain method nor is he bound by time. Relationship evangelism is great and is certainly a wonderful way to find ways to share the gospel with people, but we have to trust that God is working in places that may not have even ever heard the word "God" or "Jesus" before! There are no rules that state you have to know someone for a month or a year, get to know them and then share. There are no rules that you have to use a certain gospel tract or method. God is God and we are not! All He wants is for us to be faithful to do whatever He has called us to do!
Spurgeon once stated to preachers to "Take your text and make a beeline for the cross." In our conversations we need to make a beeline for the cross. The cross is what provides hope for the heart as people Hope, Believe, Turn and Call.
Lord, let us learn from Paul and let us be faithful to do WHATEVER you want us to do and to never lose the wonder of who You are and the wonder of our salvation!
Thursday, August 29, 2013
What motivates you? Lately, pictures of Corpus Christi have been motivating me keep up my runs, since I will be running in a long distance race there soon. There is this feeling within me that can emerge, though - a feeling that routine runs will wear away at me and drain my energy. When I remember why I am excited about that run in the future, my mind shifts. My heart lifts. I remember why I love to run, and even what may seem like a purely mechanic routine is a good time as I remember the end goal with its purpose and meaning.
As believers, we have this future hope that Jesus will return one day. This hope comes from God's promises. He is an unchanging promise keeper. God is Lord over all and Jesus, our Redeemer. With help from the Holy Spirit, we can seek to live our lives as His people, representatives for Him until He comes again to restore His kingdom on earth. My hope is that as we seek to follow God, we shift our eyes from obedience that can look like routine and see the underlying love for our Savior that can drive all of that.
"So we must not grow tired of doing good" (Galatians 6:9a, HCSB).
"God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit in me" (Psalm 51:10, HCSB).
Recommended song: "Absent from Flesh" performed by Sojourn Music. You can see a YouTube video here or listen to the audio version here. This song was inspired by the hymn written by Isaac Watts, and you can find the words to that here.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
This past weekend I kept my sisters 4 kids, ages 6 and under. I absolutely adore my nieces and nephews and above all other career choices desire to one day be a mother. However, this weekend was a strong indication for me of my selfishness. I am convinced that being a mother is one of the most selfless endeavors tin existence. Every moment of parenting is spent serving, cleaning. feeding and caring for another. This past weekend, I realized how pervasive selfishness is. It is so easy to be selfish with time, money, plans, relationships- and yet that is not the mindset or attitude Christ calls believers to.
Friday, August 23, 2013
In Acts 17, Paul continues to tell us how to approach people in our culture. After explaining to the men in Athens who God is, he continues to reveal the true nature of man. Idolatry is not innocent. It is rebellion against God Himself. God is "declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent" (Acts 30).
In our culture there are too many people who believe that there is no absolute truth and that every person is right in their own inner being. The theological term for that is: BALONEY. Romans 1:18-32 clearly tells us that ever man has a conscience and that every man has violated his own moral conscience. Sin is a reality in every person's life.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Have you heard of a quarter-life crisis? It may sound like a stretch compared to the more widely known mid-life crisis, but I used it when I graduated from college. It made me laugh. After spending most of my life in school, I was trying to make sense of just what I was to do with myself. So, since I have already claimed the term for another time in my life, I am left with having to identify the current place I am in as I face another fork in the road.
There is something to be said of a quarter-life crisis. Moments will come and go. Yet - there is something about those moments. There is a purpose for each one.
As God's, He has a purpose for our lives and for life in general. As I think back on the times that I thought were meaningless, confusing or simply a mess, I remember Him being there. He has always been there, even if I didn't seem to want Him there. If I wasn't close to Him in those moments, then He was there to bring me closer to Himself. I just had to respond, lean in and trust Him. He was there to forgive me, or to point me where to go or to give me strength for the next step.
So, I don't know what to call this fork in the road, but that's okay. I've found peace remembering God is in control. He's got this.
Child of God, no matter what moment you are in, remember He is Immanuel, God with us. Not only that, but He's given His children the Holy Spirit to help us here on earth.
Let's lean in and look through heaven's eyes today and trust in Him. Let's see a world that also needs His forgiveness, presence and peace and be there to point them to Him, our life-giver.
Monday, August 19, 2013
On Friday, I learned of the passing of an incredibly gifted man, Stacy Taylor. Known for his generous spirit and vibrant personality, I knew him as one who jumped into every task with great enthusiasm. I laugh as I recall the times he volunteered to visit for the church, teach children's Bible study and do other things only to learn that these were not his first calling. More than once, he said he just knew how to make and raise money. Wow, what a gift!!! Stacy was always smiling and strengthening the souls of those he knew. Pray for his wife, Janet, and for his family and friends. Today they need to be encouraged through the tribulations. We all do.
It was Friday evening that I ran into Arthur Craig, pastor of Woodhaven Deaf Church in Houston. I was shocked when he said that just two weeks ago, his wife Barbara had died. Arthur and Barbara started the first deaf church and have been faithfully serving for decades. What a blessing to have served alongside of them in ministry at Houston's FBC. Barbara was a kindhearted and gentle soul who cherished her husband and children and loving consoled everyone she met. She was a true servant and we will all miss her. The world is a better place because of her ministry.
Regardless of your call in life, whether it be in the business world or quietly and faithfully serving behind the scenes, your life counts. Gifted in leading or gifted in following, all are necessary. This scripture in Acts reminds us that, in the early church, each person and all gifts were needed to work together for the cause of Christ. Today, let's decide to lay aside all the things that we think are problems. Instead, strengthen the souls of disciples and encourage them to continue in the faith.
May we be found faithful.
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Have you been in a boat before? Quite a few years ago, I remember sailing with some friends and my friend's grandfather near Kemah, Texas. We left the shore mid-afternoon, planning to come back to land in time to eat dinner. It was a beautiful day, but as the sun started to set, we realized something may be wrong. We had drifted into waters that seemed too deep for an anchor, and the wind seemed to have stopped. After a while of searching, we found a way back and my friend's grandfather was able to find a spot to anchor the boat. We were hungry and tired, so we were relieved to have a spot to eat and rest before nightfall.
There is this rock solid, anchor-like hope we find in God's promise, when we come to Him by faith in Christ. When we believe in His sacrifice, ask for forgiveness and turn to Him for guidance, we are forgiven and considered a part of His family. We are able to be a part of God's family because of His great love for us.
Christ is our intermediary high priest. He is the way we can have a mended relationship with the holy God the Father, because Jesus has paid the price for our sins. Let us praise God that He has forgiven us like that, as if
Let us praise God in light of this promise, and let us walk by faith because of it. Let's look for ways to share this hope that we find in Him, our rock, and pray that others come to embrace Him as Savior and Lord.
A great song: "Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)" by Hillsong United (a YouTube lyric video link)
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Hope is found in God
My soul, wait in silence for God only, for my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. On God my salvation and my glory rest; the rock of my strength, my refuge is in God. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah. Psalm 62:5-8
Some days I have so many choices that I would like to crawl back in my mother's womb and hide. Anyone with me? God hears and understands. Let's pour our hearts out to God. We can hope and hide in Him.
Friday, August 9, 2013
Paul focuses on who God is as soon as He starts preaching to the peole in Athens. In this passage we see that God is:
- The Creator of the universe (v. 24).
- The Sustainer of all life (v. 25).
- The Sovereign Lord of all the nations (v. 26).
- The Self-revealing God (v. 27-28).
Thursday, August 8, 2013
This version stood out to me, because of the word "publishing" and because it is mentioned twice. In this verse, the Hebrew form of the word used means "to hear of man" (NAS Exhaustive Concordance). So, this news is from someone's voice. God can speak through us to bring news of salvation and peace to others.
The neat thing is is that we are meant to bring this news with full trust and remembrance of its truth. Remember how you have found peace and salvation:
- How have you found peace with God?
- When were you saved? What did He deliver you from?
- How has the peace and salvation that you've found in God changed your mind, perspective, heart and soul?
Let's pray God gives us boldness and wisdom to "publish" the salvation and peace that last - the kind we find in Him.
"And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!'" (Romans 10:15, ESV).
Recommended song: "Rooftops" by Jesus Culture - you can listen to it on YouTube here