Tag Archive: Sin


D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

One spring, I took the opportunity to spend my vacation in Israel. While there, I boarded a boat on a pleasant sunshiny day with a group of people. We wanted to get to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea was blue and calm as we started to cross over. The day was clear so that I could see the other side. When we entered the middle of the sea, the wind began to blow. At first, it was a gentle breeze then it became more intense. The boat was rocking so much that I was sure a storm was coming soon. I began wondering if we would have to walk on water, and hoping and praying that we would reach the other side before the storm hit.

stormy seaThankfully, we made it to the other side before the storm came. There were palm trees whose leaves rustled in a gentle breeze as we approached the shore. We passed the trees into a city where the sunshiny sky was clear, blue and calm. There were no signs of an approaching storm. In fact, I don’t remember rain at any time during my stay in Israel.

Thus, this is similar to the life of the saints of God. God gives directions, and we follow them, only to occasionally be in the midst of a brewing storm: family and friends not acting right, relationships fizzling, money is funny, coworkers acting insane, the car is falling apart, or the body is aching, etc.

It looks like smooth sailing as doors open with little effort on our part. Until all these things and more begin shaking and rocking our boat. The storm seems to get so bad that if we weren’t saints, not only would we be angry, we would sin. But instead, we pray and cry, cry and pray. The fierce storm makes you wonder if God called you and if you heard right.

Unfortunately, sometimes it makes us stop forging ahead. We get caught up in trying to fix the boat and calming the sea ourselves: working overtime to get the money right, take vacation days to fly across the country to mend relationships, whatever.

Summer used to be the most frightening season for me because rainstorms could be very violent in Texas. Since my new birth in Christ, I wake up, hear the storm, and whisper “Peace. Be still,” then go back to sleep. Oh, to be able to do that with life’s storms. I found out that when I am in the middle of a storm, there is calm on the other side if I trust in God. I remind myself that I know He loves me and has forgiven me.

Storms also shape character and spiritually prepare you for victory in the task He has for you. Spend more time with God, so that He can encourage you when in the storm. He will open doors. And remember that it’s all about His glory. Focus on Him and His calling. Pray and press on. Put all affairs in the Master’s hands, and do what He has called you to do because only Christ can calm the storm.

Believe me, if a storm is brewing and you are in God’s will, a blessing is on the other side.

Be of good cheer. Christ can give you peace in the midst of a stormy sea. Ask Him for it. Christ can calm the storm.

 

“…He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” Mark 4:39

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus

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D J Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

mountain climber clpArtThe mountain climber George Mallory died trying to climb up the over 29,000 feet Mount Everest for the third time. Though a dangerous pursuit, climbing that mountain was his passion.

The Apostle Paul had such a great passion for preaching the gospel that he was arrested. His vision was preaching the gospel to the Romans. Therefore, he insisted on being tried in Rome. After the trial, instead of being freed to walk the streets and preach, he was imprisoned. They put him in a house with a guard chained to him. However, Paul preached the gospel anyhow. There from his house of imprisonment (Acts 28:16), Paul preached the truth of Jesus Christ to every Roman who made contact with him. Also, from his place of imprisonment, Paul wrote both instructional and encouraging letters to the churches. He would not remain silent because he could not.

Before he became known as Paul, he was Saul who passionately oversaw persecution of saints (Acts 8:30), but now as an Apostle of Christ, his passion turned to spreading the truth of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection throughout Rome and all Gentile nations no matter the circumstances. Paul viewed every circumstance as an opportunity to pursue his vision, not as an excuse to sin or to stop preaching. That’s the way he saw life because of his passion for salvation of the Gentiles.

Like Paul, do the things which God has called you to do with passion. Without passion, circumstances and thoughts and preferences of others will be allowed to rob and discourage you from pursuing your dream. Worldly distractions tend to take us off course. Samson was called to judge the Philistines, but he allowed the sin of immorality to quench the fire. After the grieved Holy Spirit had left him, he was led away powerless. However, one day, while being ridiculed, he confessed his sin, and God renewed his strength. Using all of his renewed passion, Samson died while destroying the enemies of God, which he was called to do (Judges 16:28).

If you are serving God without passion, maybe the fire has been quenched. Perhaps sin, discouraging words, rejections, or worries of this world have been given control and allowed to quench the spiritual flame. If you have a God-given dream or vision, but no passion, maybe you need to do as Samson; examine yourself, then pray for forgiveness and renewed passion.

Passion is as Jeremiah said; like “fire shut up in my bones” (Jeremiah 20:9). As God has revealed His vision, it has become your vision; and you should be pursuing the dream with passion. God has anointed you and placed a fire in your bones. Therefore, if the church won’t let you sing in the choir, sing at weddings or conferences. If the pastor won’t allow you to preach from the pulpit, then preach on the street corners or in prisons. If you aren’t allowed to act in a movie, like Sylvester Stallone, write your own script and make your own movies. When Hollywood didn’t want to invest in a movie like The Passion of Christ, Mel Gibson produced and directed it himself. If publishers won’t publish your book or your song, publish it yourself. If God has put the fire in you, how can you keep silent? You cannot!

Pursuing a God-given dream without passion is pursuing the dream without the fire of the Holy Spirit. Without the fire, you cannot…

But if I say, “I will not mention Him or speak any more of His name, His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.” Jeremiah 20:9 (NIV)

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus

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DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Because of the sins of the children of Israel, another people had overcome them and ruled over them and the land. Therefore the Jews lived in the ruins of Jerusalem and left the walls of the city unrepaired. (Nehemiah 2:13) They lived as people without hope and made themselves comfortable with the consequences of their sin. During the reign of Artaxerxes, king of Persia, God gave Nehemiah favor to go and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 2:1-8) Though tormentors came daily taunting them (Nehemiah 4:1); reminding them of the fact that they were weak and defeated people, Nehemiah came along and persuaded them to rebuild the walls and secure the gates. The mockers said that they were neither capable nor did they have a right to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. The Jews had to be on guard day and night for the wicked princes sought to keep them and the city in ruins.

man in ruins

Similarly, today there are among us people who have sinned, willingly or unwillingly, who are residing in ruins; their life is a sinful mess. Every time someone like Nehemiah comes along to encourage them that they can have a new life, there are deceivers who want them to remain in ruins, constantly taunting them; telling them that they are weak and utterly sinful. They mock them and tell them that their life is irreparable and they have no right to seek a new life in Christ. They continuously pressure them into thinking there is no hope, and that life in sin is where they belong. But, as God heard Nehemiah’s prayer of repentance and gave him favor with the king to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, He will hear the prayers of a repentant heart and will give them favor, and by His grace repair their life and make them brand new.

Perhaps you or your loved ones are in a negative situation due to sins of your forefathers (Exodus 20:5), sins you personally committed, or sins committed against you. As a consequence, your house and life are in ruins; you are in bondage and a servant to sin, and unable to break free. God did not make you this way. This is not the life God intended for you. Therefore, not wanting you to perish in your sin, He prepared a way of escape and restoration. I know that people around you have deceived you, but God does not lie. (Numbers 23:19) What you have heard about the true and living God you can believe. God so loved you that He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ (John 3:16), to take away your sins and give you new life. He wants to lift you from the ruins if you let Him.

To tune out the world or people who would have you remain in sinful ruin, pick up the Bible and see what God has to say. The scriptures will reveal the overwhelming love, restorative mercy and saving grace of God.

In His Word, you can know that by the sacrificial blood of Jesus Christ, God has made a way of escape from a life of ruins. He will forgive and restore the repentant soul. If you call on Jesus, you can and you will be lifted from ruins and set free from the bondage of sin.

 

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  John 8:36

 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1JOHN 1:9

 

 

That’s Todays’ Single Focus…

 

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by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Late one night I made the mistake of going to a popular Drug Store on the eve of Valentine’s Day. When I got there I decided that there must be a great sale going on because, the parking lot was unusually packed.  I had done my Valentine shopping earlier in the month; therefore, it didn’t dawn on me until I got into the store and saw the long lines; “Valentine’s Day!” The crowd was there to buy Valentine gifts and cards. These were the ‘True Love’ procrastinators.  I turned around and walked out, because it was obvious that I should wait and make my purchase on another day.

Can ‘True Love wait’? Think about it. How thespian it is to see God’s creation running even sprinting to ‘Love’; desperately clinging with emotional tongs to someone (anyone) while musing, “Could this be True Love?” They are not sure, but they will not let go. They will do whatever it requires to keep this ‘True Love’ in their grasp.  The problem is, however, that they don’t resemble the ‘Love’ that movies are made of. Like ‘nickel plated silver’, the ‘Love’ begins to expose its deficiency. The sparkle begins to fizzle. They begin to wonder, how this can be ‘True Love’ when there is no Disney magic; there is very little “happy ever…”  Is this the ‘True Love’ that movies are made of?  Who is directing; who wrote the script? Is it improvised? Has your ‘True Love’ story turned into a nightmarish comedy; absent of humor?

lftChristLuvIn order to make a beautiful compelling ‘True Love’ movie, you’ve got to have outstanding actors.  The problem is that ‘True Love’ is not a movie, but too many desperate idealists have subconsciously blurred the lines between realism and fiction. Therefore they cling to the illusion that they saw the actors perform in the movies. When they face reality they discover that life is not a movie and the ones sticking to the script are really actors who are ‘True Loves’ only until the credits begin to roll. Then they go on to the next movie set. You are simply one of the stars that they were in a movie with.

 Can ‘True Love’ wait? Are you tired of waiting? Perhaps that’s why you are clinging to anyone who is needed to complete your fantasy. Are you so anxious for ‘True Love’ that you have settled; anybody breathing will do? Are you like that ‘State Farm Commercial’ where the woman picked a boyfriend from the internet who claims to be a Parisian model, but obviously is neither French nor a model? If you’re at that stage, perhaps’ True Love’ can wait.

With divorce at epidemic levels; ‘shacking’ as an expected norm; teenage promiscuity spurring the surge of transmitted diseases; infanticide (abortion) as a billion dollar business; and domestic violence alarming frequency; it is evident that there needs to be a curriculum course, at all education levels, on ‘True Love’. However, mankind has so ‘devolved’ that they refuse to teach ‘True Love’ in the public schools. As a matter of fact government actively tries to discourage its very mention in any public arena and the psychologist, divorce lawyers and undertakers are reaping the benefits.  Oh, they will teach about sex education; how to use condoms; and how to tolerate perversion (governmentally sponsored). That’s because educators and government officials are intellectually deficient on the knowledge of what ‘True Love’ really is.

‘True Love’ is when you have disobeyed the One who created you, but that Creator has mercy on you and sacrifices another of His created being to cover you. Adam and Eve didn’t follow the script, but their Author loved them in their weakness.  They didn’t measure up to His standards, but He loved them anyway.

‘True Love’ is when you were given a promise, but though you could not wait and decided to make your own fulfillment of the promise, God loves you anyway. Though your “promise come true” was artificial or fake, God loves you and gives you the promise anyway.

‘True Love’ is when you’ve been an adulterer and/or an idolater, but God loves you so much that He sacrificed His only begotten Son to pay the bond for your crimes; for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

‘True Love’ is when you’ve been willingly imprisoned by deadly habits like substance abuse and sexual immorality, but Christ loves you enough to come and break your chains and set you free.

‘True Love’ is when you’ve made bad choices and your sins are like crimson, Christ willingly comes down off His throne to take your sins upon Himself and is beaten, mocked, and crucified to cover you and your sins; past, present and future (“love covers a multitude of sins” (James 5:20).

‘True Love’ is though you reject Him and deny Him; Christ is willing to forgive you and sit down to eat with you. He still stands at the door of your heart and invites you to come unto Him and walk with Him (Revelation 3:20).

‘True Love’ is God relentlessly seeking your good and seeking to assure you of eternal life thru Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 1:16).

‘True Love’ is not a movie nor is it a fairy tale. ‘True Love’ is real and not based upon a man-made script.

‘True Love’ is written by the Holy Spirit on the hearts of all who are willing.

‘True Love’ can be experienced by all who are willing to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.

You may not be married or you may have been married 50 plus years, but until you’ve met Jesus Christ; until you have accepted Christ as your Lord and Savior, you will never know ‘True Love’.

‘True Love’ waits for you…

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us… (NIV)” 1 John 3:16

 “For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“God is love.1 John 4:8

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

     Happy New Year! I believe that this is God’s resolve for us. I will let Him speak in His own Words…

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, or give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”* says the Lord. Romans 12:19

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots. Luke 23:34

from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD; I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:34

“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.”  Matthew 6:14

But, if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.  Matthew 6:15

forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us.  Matthew 6:12

when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.” Mark 11:25

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.” Mark 11:26

“Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Luke 17:3

“And if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times in a day returns to you, saying, ‘I repent,’ you shall forgive him.” Luke 17:4

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. 1 John 1:10

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Psalm 32:1

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Romans 4:7

Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.” Romans 4:8

And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ‘s sake hath forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:32

And you, being dead in your trespasses and the un-circumcision of your flesh (your sinful nature was not yet cut away), God has made alive together with Christ, having forgiven you all trespasses Colossians 2:13

I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake. 1 John 2:12

Have you ever had the occasion to sit down and try to think of ways to get back at someone who offended you? Maybe you’ve had sleepless nights, because all you can think of is how they have hurt you; embarrassed you; offended you; or, as Christ would put it, sinned against you?  Have you gone as far as looked for a lawyer so that you can take them for every penny they have? Every time you look at them, do you just want to smack them upside their head?  Don’t you just love their gall to grin in your face after stabbing you in the back?  It was mean and spiteful, and they think it is funny!  They were wrong and that’s the truth! However, God says, “you must forgive them!’

Seriously…? Yes, seriously! You see, when Christ died for your sin, He died for their sins too. Look at what He said in 1 John 1:10; ‘If you say you haven’t sinned, you’re lying (which makes you a sinner).’  The point is that married couples will live with forgivenessone another long enough to offend one another at some time.  Some couples hold a grudge right into divorce court and accuse each other of being at fault. Okay, one started it and said the wrong thing or did the wrong thing; then the other retaliated in a way that offended the other; and now it has escalated to “irreconcilable differences.”  The fact of the matter is both sinned against each other.  Christ teaches us that, if one repents and one forgives, differences can be reconcilable.

You have sleepless nights; you may even have an upset stomach every time you think of or see those who have offended you. That’s really showing them… You’re sick and tired while they merrily go on their way healthy and well rested. Let me let you in on a little secret: they say that ‘you can’t beat God giving’; you can’t ‘beat God avenging’ either! So if you really want to get back at them, forgive them and let God take care of your enemies! Take my word for it: you’ll have the last laugh” You’ll get healthy and some sleep too!

Unfortunately, the prisons, hospitals, and graveyards are overflowing with people who were bitter and wanted revenge. Un-forgiveness will imprison you or kill you!

It’s a New Year! Don’t let bitterness and anger divide, imprison or hospitalize you! It’s time to move on. It’s time to focus on God’s grace and His will to forgive you of your sins. It’s time to stop focusing on enemies and their evil devices so that you can diligently succeed in reaching your goal and fulfilling your dreams!  It’s time to be grateful for the forgiving mercy of God towards you. Let us give God thanks and resolve to enlist the help of the Holy Spirit to help us forgive…

May this New Year bring us peace of mind and vibrant health, because when we pray, we are careful to forgive others and receive the forgiveness of God.

 

 “Forgive, and you shall be forgiven” Luke 6:37

That’s Todays’ Single Focus…

by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

I believe that this is God’s resolve for us. I’ll let  Him speak in His own Words…

Happy New Year!Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; Oh, what a sinful nation they are loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
Stop bringing Me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts Me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting; they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. Your new moons and your appointed feasts I hate: they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear [them].
When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
A. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
B. Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil;
C. Learn to do good;
D. Seek justice,
E. Rebuke the oppressor;
F. Defend the fatherless;
G. Plead for the widow.”
“Come now, and let us reason together”, saith the LORD: “though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:1-20

Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt
A. Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”                       Matthew 22:37

And when you stand praying,
A. Forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

Jesus said unto them, “My meat is to
A. Do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34

Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and
A. Fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
B. That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Though we face uncertainty and challenges in the New Year, may we resolve to examine ourselves and put away sinful disobedience so that we will do the work that God has called us to and focus on His will & purpose. May this New Year bring ‘Good News’ and experience of the delivering, providing, forgiving, healing and victorious grace, mercy and power of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”   3 John 1:2

That’s Todays’ Single Focus