Tag Archive: SingleFocus


DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

How many years have passed since you have been so bitter that you served notice that your son or daughter is not welcome back into your house until they repay a debt or until they come back and help run the family business?  Has it been years since you’ve been angry with your children for leaving you to stay with your estranged spouse?  Howgiverest long has it been since you vowed to disinherit them if they married someone you disapproved of and they married them anyway? Have you extended the bitterness toward your estranged grandchildren too?

Everybody that knows you is aware that you are still angry with your children, because you can’t stop talking about it. Just the very mention of their name subjects anyone within the sound of your voice to the verbal prosecution of your children’s’ offense towards you. I don’t know how long you’ve kept the fire of bitterness to your bosom, but I bet it shows up in your human and spiritual shaky relationships, suboptimal business affairs, and perplexing health issues.

This is a New Year.  As a matter of fact New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, every seven years. You’ve worked very hard to do well in your chosen vocation or occupation. You have a home, transportation and money in your pocket. You have done very well preparing yourself to be in reasonably good financial shape in this New Year. Though he is talking about agriculture and financial status, I think that Moses gives an excellent command to seriously consider for more prosperity of your health and your soul (3John 1:2).

“But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.” Exodus 23: 11

This New Year is the seventh year. To paraphrase Moses, “It’s time to give it a rest!” Let it go. You’ve been toting that bucket of bitterness too long (Ephesians 4:31). Put your kids back in the will or at least back in good fellowship. No doubt, they are saddened by the separation. Now is a good time to bless the poor in spirit.

Is it difficult for you? Is it hard to apologize or say, “I’m sorry”? Are you having problems forgiving them?

Let God help you to bless the poor in spirit. That’s you and that’s your children. God wants to bless you all. Therefore, I have no doubt that He is willing and able to help you reconcile. He will help you to forgive (Matthew 6:14) and He will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Just pray and ask Him to help you; if you are sincere, I guarantee that He will.

This is a good year to turn it over to Christ and let Him heal you of bitterness.  It’s the seventh year; forgive (Luke 17:4) and “let it rest.”

I pray that this is the year that you lay aside bitterness and give it a rest.

“But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest…” Exodus 23: 11

That’s Today’s Single Focus

 

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DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

glasseson-book1Preparing to accompany my dad for a short drive, I watched him turn to the right and then to the left. I saw him go to the kitchen and then back to the den. Then he turned and went down the hallway and returned to the den again. As he stood there, I inquired if he was ready to go. With a puzzled expression on his face he answered, “I was looking for my glasses.” I matter-of-factually replied, “They are on your nose.”

This is an event that is ageless. Everyone has observed or been in a similar situation whether it is sunglasses or readers: looking for the glasses and discover that they are on the head, around the neck or in the hands. Everyone has misplaced something and as they say when you’ve found it, “If it had been a snake it would have bitten you.” It was closer than realized.

Every Sunday morning we go to worship and faithfully assemble in the Sanctuary to seek the face of God and His presence, but during the week, too many of us have misplaced Him and left Him there. It’s as if (in our minds) His place and power is only in that edifice. As we face the battle of life, we think God can’t catch us when we fall unless we’re at the church house, so we come up with our own devices and search for solutions in the world.  Too many of us are satisfied to be victims instead of victors as if ‘victory in Jesus’ is only a praise song we sing on Sunday mornings.

Remember the two walking a seven mile journey back to their home (Luke 24)?  Jesus walked up to them and inquired what it was that they were discussing so intently. Surprised at the question, they told Him all about what had tragically transpired with Christ. Notice that angels did not blow trumpets, nor was there a choir or praise team anywhere around. Jesus merely came along side, and began to explain the truth of the Scriptures and reveal Himself through the words of the prophets. He didn’t wait until they got to the Sanctuary; He walked with them on the road as they made their long journey. Yet, they did not know that it was Him, until He broke the bread at their table. They were very sad, but their sorrow turned to gladness and discouragement turned to hope as He walked, talked, and dined with them. They were perplexed and dismayed, until they realized He had been with them all the time. When they realized who He was, they were so overjoyed that they ran back another seven miles to tell the other disciples that Christ was truly alive and had walked and talked with them. As they reported this, to their surprise, He appeared again to all of them.

Christ is not just in the Sanctuary. He is more than a song we sing or a sermon we hear on a Sunday morning. He is strength and security on a Monday morning. He is encouragement and enlightenment on a Wednesday afternoon. He is rest and refuge on a Friday evening. He is comfort and companion on a long day’s journey. He is truth and triumph, our up close and personal champion.

If Christ is not with you until you get to the Sanctuary, life is a defeated and depressive mystery.  The two travelers were not looking for Him along their journey, because all they knew was that He was crucified and buried after He died; and now the tomb was empty, and they didn’t know where His body was. But suddenly there He was, walking with them, closer than they realized.

Have you misplaced Him in your life? Where are you looking for Christ? Where are you looking for God? Do you get so distracted that you lose sight of Jesus? Do you leave Him at the Sanctuary or in the Sunday-School classroom?

Don’t just place Him as Lord of your Sunday mornings.  If you take time to meditate on His Word and what you’ve been taught, the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of the Scriptures to you. I’m confident that you’ll find that He is closer than you realize. Placing Him as Lord of everyday means that you don’t have to wait until Sunday morning or when you get to heaven to experience freedom and victory.

“Christ with you” is more than a song on Sunday morning!

 

“Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  Matthew 28:20

 “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  Hebrews 13:5

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

by D.J. Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Arcade on the Midway D.J. Martin©

Arcade on the Midway                                    D.J. Martin©

While at the State Fair, I found mothers for all seasons on the Midway Arcade.  Strolling down the Arcade were five mothers and five different generations. One family on the right exemplifies all seasons. A mother strolls ahead while her daughter pushes a baby carriage and two different generations of toddlers, a boy and a girl, walk alongside while big Sis walks ahead with grandmother.

Another mother reaches out to grab the hand of her little girl as they walk; and the mother ahead of them talks with her teenager. In the foreground is an older mother who is not with her children. She no longer has to hold their hand while walking down the Midway. She gets to stroll down the Midway for her own pleasure.

Now that her children are grown, she gets to stop and browse, and toss a nickel in the bowl. No longer does she really have to push them, hold their hand or say or do things to make them smile. Now that they are all grown up, she can stroll down the Midway and see things that make her smile and laugh out loud.

It’s a good day to remember moms who pushed you in a stroller, held your hand and walked with you through the Midway Arcade. Though there were times you were chastised, most of the time she made you smile.

Today is a good day to remember Mamma and do things that make her smile…

He maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. Praise ye the LORD!Psalm 113:9

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

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by d.j. Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

To Wait... To Go by D.J. Martin

‘Waiting’ by D.J. Martin

They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

Wait, I say, on the LORD.

That’s one of my favorite scriptures, but there is a dilemma. How do you know when to wait and when to go?

Take Moses and the children of Israel. Moses heard he was called to deliver his people and he proceeded to go and murder an Egyptian (Exodus 2:12). It was not time to go. So, when was the time to go? When he was eighty years old, at least forty years later…Then when he got them to the entrance of the promise land, they decided to wait instead of go. They died waiting.

How in the world do you know when it’s time to wait or time to go?

Look at King Saul. The prophet Samuel told him that he would meet Saul at a specific time to make sacrifice and bless them before they went into battle. So Saul waited, but when the time came, Samuel had not arrived. The people began to get restless, making King Saul anxious. He now had a dilemma: whether he should wait or whether he should go. He made the wrong choice. He didn’t wait on Samuel, and his position as king of Israel became very shaky. It was time to wait, not time to go (1Samuel 13).

The time King David was to go with the army into battle, he thought it was time to wait. His poor choice resulted in adultery, murder and death of a baby boy (2Samuel 11). For him, it was time to go, not time to wait.

And then there was the prodigal son. He couldn’t wait for his inheritance. Things didn’t turn out so well (Luke 15:16). He should have waited.

Solomon tells us, in the book of Ecclesiastes Chapter 3, that there’s a time for everything. But he didn’t tell us when… Just how do you know when it’s time to wait and time to go, especially if you are trying to grow your faith in God? ? ?

Four years ago, I decided that it was time to go, but God made it quite clear that it was not the time. I got pressure on every side to go, but God also surrounded me with people who had a word of wisdom. So I changed my mind and waited. I prayed for wisdom while I waited so that I could discern when it was the right time to go. Graciously, He gave me the wisdom and I chose the right time to go.

I think that the time to go or the time to wait is not based on circumstances or time of day, month or year. We at times make poor choices, because we think it is about circumstances and timing, but it must be more than that. It’s about wisdom and discernment. Since God is omnipresent, He can best reveal the wisest time to go or to wait. Thankfully, even though we can’t seem to figure it out and occasionally make the wrong choice, God forgives and re-routes us.

Patience is truly a difficult thing, especially when you don’t know exactly when it’s time to wait or time to go. But as Solomon concluded, the best way to know is to remember our Creator God who righteously judges whether it be good or bad (Ecclesiastes 12). To know when to wait and when to go, seek wisdom from God (James 1:5). I’m a witness that He gives it freely!

“Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and He shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD!” Psalm 27:14 

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

In the Beginning:

woman handsWsnakeAdam said, “The woman whom You gave me, she gave me of the forbidden tree, and I did eat.” Then the LORD God said unto the woman, “What have you done?” And Eve said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” The LORD God said unto the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and every beast of the field; upon your belly you’ll go, and dust you’ll eat all your life:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:12-15

Seed of the Woman:

The angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take Mary as your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Then Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had said, and made Mary his wife: but, knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called His name JESUS.  Matthew 1:20-25

Bruising the Heel:

The chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death. When they had bound Him, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the governor. When He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He said nothing.

Pilate went out unto the Jews, and said unto them, “I find in Him no fault at all.” John 18:38.

At this time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore, when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, “Whom do you want me to release unto you; Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ? They said, “Barabbas” Then Pilate asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ? They all said, “Let Him be crucified.” And the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified.” Then Pilate took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person…

They crucified Him, and set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

From the 6th hour there was darkness over all the land unto the 9th hour. And about the 9th hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me? Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. That very evening, a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple, went to Pilate, and begged for the body of Jesus. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, hewed out of the rock: and he rolled a great stone over the door of the sepulcher, and left. Matthew 27:1-61

Bruising the Head:

The next day, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember that deceiver, while He was yet alive said, “After 3 days I will rise again.” Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the 3rd day, lest His disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, “He is risen from the dead…” So they went and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards. Matthew 27: 62-66

At the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the 1st day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulcher. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. And the angel said unto the women, “Fear not: for I know that you seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come; see the place where the Lord was laid.” And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goes before you into Galilee; there shall you see Him…” The women departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples the news. As they went to tell His disciples, Jesus met them. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshiped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, “Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.” The 11 disciples went into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:1-20

The End?

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:17-18

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1Corinthians 15:55

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Valentine Card by d.j. martin

Valentine Card by d.j. martin

I don’t know a lot about Valentine’s Day. When it first became a holiday or its origin is a mystery to me. I did investigate the holiday a long time ago. I don’t remember much about what I found. However, I do have sense enough to know that the cupid with its arrow is undoubtedly of pagan origin. The Holy Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, makes no mention of heavenly angelic beings called ‘cupid’.

Though Moses never put it on the Holy calendar and Jesus never commanded that we follow such an edict, I am grateful for the day. Hey, what may have been meant for evil, I’ve seen God transform for good (Genesis 50:20).

On one day of the year, everyone is reminded that they need to take time to tell someone who they love, that they are loved. People get so busy living that they take love ones for granted. Sometimes the love ones need to hear or read the words. Sometimes they need to see that they are not being taken for granted, and need someone to remind them that you’re grateful that they are in your lives. Sometimes they need to know that they are appreciated and special to you.

This day is more than about cupid’s conditional amorous arrow. I like the fact that this day is reminder to take the time to let someone special know they are loved. This day should not pass without you expressing love and appreciation for somebody; be it your mentor, your best friend, your confidant, your parents, your siblings, your children; or your husband or wife. Somebody in everyone’s lives needs to know that they are appreciated and loved, unconditionally.

No, Moses never commanded that there be a feast with unleavened bread shaped like a valentine heart, but he did command that we should “love the LORD God with all our hearts (Deuteronomy 6:5).” Jesus never commanded the disciples to celebrate a day of love, but He did give a commandment about love:

“This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12).”

Everyone is going around celebrating the love they have for someone, but not many truly know how to love like God knows. God’s love is overwhelming. His love is faithful. He never breaks a promise. God is forgiving and He is a covenant keeper. Not only was it written, but He demonstrated His love toward us in that “He sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him (1John 4:9).” “God commended His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).”

You may not get a valentine’s card or flowers on this day, but in no wise does it mean that you are not loved. God has already sent you an everlasting card straight from His heart. He has established His unwavering love for you. His love was written and expressed, even before you were born. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13).”

Red is the color God used to express His love: the blood of Jesus Christ which was shed as atonement for my sins. Oh how I love Him! Oh, how He loves me! Oh, how He loves you!

God’s love is written on my heart and He expresses His love to me through His mercy and grace every day. That’s why I have a different attitude about this day.

It’s a good day to abide in the love of God! It’s a good day to let God’s love be written on your heart.

It a good day to think upon how great a love God has for you and me!

“God is love.” 1John 4:8

That’s Today’s’ Single Focus…

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Have you ever headed out to a place you’ve never been before? No doubt the first thing you do is search or ask for directions. I have an invisible lady in my car that will give me directions when I ask. She talks me through the right turns and the left turns to get me to my destination. Sometimes I think I know where I’m going and tune her out. When I miss the turn or make a premature turn, she responds, “You have left the planned route, do you want me to update your route?”  Then she proceeds to get me back to where I made the wrong turn or simply redirects me back to the correct route that leads to my destination.

I recently took a trip to a place where I was promised that I would get wisdom and instruction. I had the invisible lady telling me how to get to where I would receive the promised wisdom, but I kept coming to streets thinking this was a better way to go. Because of that I was constantly being told that I had left the planned route. I was often confused, constantly driving down dead-end streets, but thankfully she mercifully calmly re-planned my route and patiently guided me to the place where I would receive that which I was promised.

The life of the children of God is like that. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to get off the planned route, because we think we know best; we decide to make a stop and make what we think is a more pleasurable detour; we don’t think that it’s a good idea to take that route; we decide to get there in our own way or the way our friends tell us we should; or various other reasons. Like the children of Israel who died in the wilderness, sometimes we go in circles when our destination is right there in plain sight.

We have access to the invisible voice of the Holy Spirit, but often don’t hear or we ignore that voice warning that we have left God’s planned route. So by the time we reach the destination, we are frustrated and have scrapes and dents: probably following those in front or stuck on the wrong path in the middle of a traffic jam of peer pressure and unable to take the off ramp for fear or intimidation. After being lost, when finally arriving at the destination, someone always asks, “Don’t you have a Navigation System?” Well the children of God do have the Holy Spirit, who is ready to route or update the route to the planned destination. But it will be very difficult to reach the destiny, if the voice of the Holy Spirit is not heard or is ignored.

“All the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God…”           2Corinthians 1:20

They who are in Christ are heirs and joint heirs of the promises. Because of the sacrificial blood of Christ, all who are in Christ can expect the good promises of God, however not all experience the promises of God (Deuteronomy 29). Sadly, not all reach their planned destiny. Truly God is faithful to all His promises, but you have to stay on the planned route.

So that I can get a general idea of where I’m going, I like to look at the map and study my route first, even though the invisible lady is going to be guiding me. ‘Assuring the Promises of God’ is a self-paced devotional that can help give you a general idea of the invisible Holy Spirit’s directions and planned route to your destination to receive the promises of God.

In this devotional, ‘Assuring the Promises of God’, not only will you discover how oversight of key concerns impact experiencing the promises of God, but you will also see how individual godly character impacts the community, from your personal household to the White House.

The devotional, ‘Assuring the Promises of God’, will encourage and motivate all, whether Single or Married, regardless of age or gender to stay on God’s planned route and pursue the will and purpose of God. If you listen to the Holy Spirit, through His Word, you will reach God’s planned destiny; thereby assuring the promises of God.

“And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Galatians 3:29

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

brazillianChrist2by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Imagine someone who walks and goes with you wherever you go.

Imagine someone who is with you when you’re in a storm

and when you are weeping in front of a burial tomb.

Imagine someone in whom you trust with your money.

Imagine someone who you speak with everyday.

Imagine someone who values your insight and advice.

Imagine someone whom you pray for and with every single day.

Imagine someone who you always invite to go with you to dinner parties.

Imagine someone who is there every time you lead Bible study.

Imagine someone who eagerly does anything you ask them to.

Imagine someone who you love enough to wash their feet.

Imagine someone who sat next to you at your last supper.

Imagine that someone taking 30 pieces of silver to help imprison you.

Imagine that someone going to your favorite praying spot

and betraying you by kissing you on the cheek.

Imagine that someone helping church leaders frame you

and bring you into Federal Court and falsely accuse you.

Imagine that someone hidden in the shadows as he hears you sentenced to death.

Imagine that someone watching you be paraded, bloody, beaten, and bruised

on your way to die on Calvary.

Where is the loyalty? What price for unfaithfulness to a friend? Is 30 pieces of silver a fair price for betrayal of a trust? What is so valuable that betrayal of a friend, spouse or family, whom you profess love, is more profitable than loyalty? Do the disloyal get caught up in momentary pleasure?

What Price Loyalty???

This Judas decided that 30 pieces of silver was indeed not enough to watch his friend die. So he tossed the money away and hung himself (Matthew 27:5). Alas, so much death follows betrayal of a trust.  So much is lost after disloyalty: life, friendship, family, even a nation.

But praise be to God, Christ did not betray His loyalty to God, the Father. Christ never, not once, betrayed His faithfulness to the words the angels said, “Unto you is born… a Savior (Luke 2:11).” Thereby the disloyal and the unfaithful can be redeemed and receive forgiveness (1John 1:9).

Christ did not betray His friends; in that He gave His life for His friends (John 15:13). He died on Calvary for you and me, even before we became His friends.

Wow! That’s loyalty, trust and faithfulness extraordinaire!

Praise be to God, unlike Judas, the betrayer (Matthew 10:4), Christ got up from the grave and is seated on the right hand of the Father making intercession for His friends (Romans 8:34).

But according to 1Thessalonians 4:17 that’s not how the story ends…

“… and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”  Revelations 17:14

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

 

 

 

lion

It is a difficult thing to find a job where everything is like a paradise; everyone agrees that God reigns and Christ is Lord of their lives in every way. Unfortunately, sometimes it is difficult to work in an ‘all pleasant’ atmosphere, even when you work for an evangelical church, because the jealousy demon spirit lingers at every corner.  I would venture to say that most faithful children of God have or will encounter this jealousy spirit as a roaring lion at one time or another.

Paul writes that we were chosen before the foundation of the world for a purpose (Ephesians 1:4-5). God knew us before we were born and has chosen us and compassed us with His favor. The glory of the Lord is all over us. We are a light that blinds the wicked. Wickedness determinedly cannot prevail as long as the servants of God are present.   Furthermore, the purpose of God will be fulfilled, if they don’t stop us (Amos 3:4). But I think that the story of Daniel illustrates our victorious position even in the midst of a Lion’s Den.

Compare your family or your co-workers or your government to the Lion’s Den. What do they have in common? They spread rumors and lies about you with their roaring mouths (Psalm 22:13). They encircle you with their plots against you (Psalm 17:12). They lay in wait ready to devour you (1Peter 5:8) as meat as they conspire against you. They watch your every move, like a lion tracking his prey, to report negatively if you even twitch. They aren’t concerned about your God, they are just jealous of your presence, your favor, your position and your focus on God’s ‘Will and Purpose’ for your life. They are your jealous adversaries who, unwittingly, are in league with the devil. So how do you handle the torment? Jesus said, “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come (Luke 17:1)!” “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).”

Take Daniel for an example. This is a man who worked most of His life for governments who did not know his God. Yet Daniel was highly favored.  In Daniel Chapter 6, we see the ‘green-eyed monster’, jealousy, take an extreme turn. Daniel was faithful and wise and loyal in his position as a president. The scripture says that an excellent spirit was in him (Daniel 6:3 ) and the king wanted to make him head over the whole realm. That meant that he would be promoted over all the presidents and princes. So like a lion stalking his prey, they spied on Daniel, hoping to find a flaw that they could report to the king. But they couldn’t find anything negative to report. Daniel showed up on time to work, he put in his ‘eight hours’ and fulfilled his duties without hesitation (most likely because he worked as unto the Lord); they had no opportunity to pounce. So they stroked the ego of the king and persuaded him to create a 30 day law. They decided to make Daniel’s love for God a crime. So like a pack of roaring lions they went to the king and charmed him into making it unlawful for anyone to petition their God or gods for 30 days; as Daniel had a habit of praying to the excellent God three times a day (Daniel 6:10). The law was that anyone caught would be thrown to the lions.

Well they knew Daniel would continue to pray, because they had watched his every move for days. Like a pack of lions wetting their lips, they hurried to the king and reminded him of the new law. Though angry at himself and the trickery of his princes and presidents, the king had Daniel put into the Lion’s Den (literally). But, look who encouraged Daniel; the king who did not know his God but had observed Daniel and the excellent spirit (God) with him (Daniel 6:16). This king expected impossible results.

He was anxious all night and hurried to the Lion’s Den early the next morning. There at the top of the Lion’s Den, the king called out Daniel’s name and Daniel answered saying, “My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me (Daniel 6:22).” The king had Daniel promptly removed from the Lion’s Den. Then he gathered all those two-legged lions who had plotted against Daniel and ordered they and their families to be tossed into the Lion’s Den where they were utterly destroyed by the four-legged lions. And then the king said of God, which is the moral of the story of you and the Lion’s Den; “He delivered and rescued, and He worked signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, Who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”

Do you feel like you are a Daniel in a Lion’s Den? If you are a “servant of the living God, [your] God, whom you serve continually, is able to deliver you from the lions (Daniel 6:20)” If you are a faithful servant of God, “…God [will] send His angel, and [will] shut the lions’ mouths and they will not hurt you.

The scripture goes on to say that “this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian (Daniel 6:28).” You may be in a Lion’s Den surrounded by roaring lions, but you are filled with an excellent spirit (the spirit of God). Praise God and give Him glory, because He will shut their mouths, deliver you from the lions and their power and then cause you to have favor and prosper the rest of your days.

Thy God whom thou serve continually, He will deliver thee.  Daniel 6:16

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

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Randolph Scott (1898-1987)

Randolph Scott (1898-1987) (Photo credit: Gonmi)

by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

While watching old black and white Westerns on the Classic Movie TV Channel, I noticed an interesting constant.  To be undoubtedly clear about the difference between right and wrong, throughout the entire movie, the good guys always wore white hats and the bad guys always wore black.

Whatever happened to the days when the good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black? Those noble heroes adorned their heads in white hats and never said a disparaging word. They were always encouraging and bold in their speech; declaring that the wicked shall obey laws of righteousness and will be defeated. They were champions of honor, honesty and righteousness. They were men of character and integrity. They were the heroes that both the wicked and righteous women desired and young boys emulated. Their stand for truth and justice and their fight for the downtrodden, abused and deceived made them seem 6 feet tall and handsome though physically they might not be at all. They were not wearing costumes or capes; the white hat was all that was needed to identify them as the good guys.   They didn’t believe that it was another person’s job to fight the wicked, though they knew it could cost their life if they failed.   They were champions without rings or streets named after them. They were not like ordinary other men, because they were optimistic, hopeful and trusted in God. They expected to be and were always victorious though no man would go with them. They read their Bible and prayed to their God.

On the other hand, you always knew the wicked guys, because they always wore black. Their heart was as black as the clothes they wore. They might be 6 feet tall and handsome in appearance, but deep inside their bulging chests lodged appallingly ugly hearts; and somehow the evil therein seeped through their pores. It was not so much what they said, but how they said it. Their tongue was always contorted; speaking lies camouflaged with flattering words and cleverly crafted verse accented with perfect smile and timely pitch. They crept in the night covered by darkness or in the day sheltered by the shadows; to carry out their sinister plans. They falsely accused the good guy while plotting to rob an entire town ‘blind’ and snickered at them huddled in their Church.   The cunning words and cleaver façade always made it difficult for their ‘mark’ to discern their evil intentions until they had been swindled or tied up and robbed.  They know how to woo the hero’s lady and make it seem as if the good guy is the bad guy, but we, the observers, always knew the difference, because the good guy wore the white hat and the bad guys wore black.

Nowadays it’s difficult, even for the observers, to discern the good guys from the bad. Good guys are wearing black hats, because curiously the dress of the wicked often becomes the latest fad. The bad guys are successfully infiltrating good situations and blending in with the good; always saying the right thing at the right time, going to Sunday School and to Church.  It is way too late when they have been discovered as cons and frauds who had merely painted their black hat white. They leave the victims of their deceit bruised and broken, stripped of their dignity and feeling quite stupid. Then, having conquered the foolish, the wicked verbally abuse them and freely oppress them.

Now, I’ve only seen it in the old black and white films made before my time, but I wonder what happened to the days when the good guys were imitated and men took offense if anything derogatory was said about their mom or their lady. What happened to the days when good guys always married good women who were pure inward and outwardly; and they stayed with them (her) through sickness and in health; always protecting their (her) reputation and dignity?   Now we hear even the “Sunday go to meeting” worshipers humming the lyrics of a womanizing, verbally degrading rappers’ hit song.  Didn’t it used to be a time when men and women loved each other pure and chaste from afar until they said “I do”? I think that’s what my grand momma said. In those old black & white Westerns, someone would inevitably say, “My word is my bond.” However, today, even the marriage covenant is treated like sweet-tasting chewing gum: discarded as soon as the flavor is gone.

Whatever happened to the time when men dressed for success and held their pants up with a secure belt, always mindful to keep their underwear a private affair?  Oddly enough, unfortunately, even the good guys so blend their lives with the lifestyle of the bad, that the good guys are silenced and accept ridicule hoping that they would find favor with the bad guys.  Even the good guys seem to only be willing to be our heroes if the price is right. Nowadays, their integrity, character and stand for righteousness seem to be merely an echo; as honesty and bravery is no longer fashionable.

What’s going on?  There seems to be no more obvious Martin Luthers, Martin Luther Kings, Tank Mans/Men or Chai Lings. There’s no discerning population and no unwavering men and women of principle are heard above a whisper (perhaps because every day they are being silenced in the halls of infanticide or the scourge of political correctness).  Immorality is lauded as ‘a right’ and righteousness is bullied into silence by leaders who dress in the white of integrity, but walk on a fence ready to sway whichever way the wind blows.  Maybe the only way we can bring back those days when good guys wore white hats and the bad guys wore black is that deep, inside each of us; we make sure that our inner man wears a white hat.  If each individual exhibits godly character of a hero, from the inside out, pretty soon they will impact someone else and before you know it; a whole town will be full of good guys who wear white hats and my children’s children imitate. Do I dare dream…?

I used to think that it was the way they dressed; or the way they wore their hair; or the way they showed up for Church every Sunday morning that made them the good guys: champions of righteousness, honesty and integrity. One day, alone in my apartment, suddenly I understood that anyone can act righteous to accomplish their selfish desires. It’s the ones who have transformed hearts and minds (Romans 12:2); they’re the ones that eat and breathe courage and integrity: true men and women of principle and character. Now I understand that except the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14, Act 4:31) comes over them, they don’t stand strong and fearlessly exhibit godliness. Actually they don’t look like Randolph Scott at all nor do they ride a white horse like the Lone Ranger, but they always seem to show up to encourage, pray, rescue and save at just the right time.  Even if the good guys wore white hats and were heroic and courageous, unless Christ is their Savior, they will never know true victory.  You see, it starts from the heart totally yielded to the ultimate champion, Jesus Christ.

The ‘born again’ (1 Peter 1:23) follower of Jesus Christ becomes more than an observer, but a Spirit-filled participator in the fight for truth and justice.  Filled with the Holy Spirit (Act 2:4), they will leap tall buildings, penetrate steel walls, rescue the captive and give insight to the blind faster than a speeding bullet when they pray. They might not wear white hats, but they are covered by the blood of Christ (Hebrews 9:14, Revelation 1:5) and cloaked in righteousness, honesty, integrity and unwavering truth and character.

Perhaps we don’t recognize the good guys, because we’re looking too high up. Actually the good guys tend to be in the trenches, not in comfortable hilltop mansions. They’re the ones who back you up when you’re troubled. They are the passersby who run into a burning building to rescue you from the flames. They’re the ones who pray for you when you’re struggling. They’re the ones who empty their pockets so that you are fed though you’re a stranger. They are humble and unassuming men and women who comfort and encourage. Though they don’t even know your name, they mercifully hold your hand or wipe the tears from your eyes when, in your life, tragedy has struck. When you stumble, rather than condemn or judge you, they extend their hand of mercy to help you up.   Amazingly when there is a need, they are always showing up in the nick of time and do not require payment from you; not one dime. The good guys don’t always look strong and courageous. They might wear uniforms, but most times not. The good guys could be your neighbor or yourself who speed to rescue without hesitation; all because someone needs help. They stand at the ready to show captives the path to freedom and break the chains that bind. They sound the alarm when you draw near to danger and they don’t stand around waiting for you to show some kind of gratitude.  They may not wear white hats, but they are up close and personal champions; men and women of character and integrity who wear invisible helmets of salvation (Ephesians 6:17) and breastplates of righteousness (Isaiah 59:17).

I noticed another thing that was common in those movies. In the moment of truth, the good guy always had to fight the battle by himself, because the people who needed to be rescued were intimidated by the wicked and believed deceiving words which rendered them helplessly shackled by the spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). They thought that it was best to try to make the wicked happy and then they would be left alone (“evil prevails when good men do nothing”). It speaks to a truth of life: real heroes are discerning and are a rare commodity specially designed and providentially dispatched by God. Though the wicked is cunning and cleverly disguised, somehow the surrendered soul totally yielded to Jesus Christ, rightly discerns the righteous from the wicked, whether or not the bad or the good guys wore white hats.

Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not…” (NKJV)  Malachi 3:18

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

At an appointed time, King Herod put on his royal apparel, sat on his throne, and made a stirring and eloquent speech. The people gave him a great ovation and would not stop shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!” And immediately the angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. So he was consumed with worms and died. Meanwhile, the word of God continued to spread, and there were many new believers in Jesus Christ (Act 12:21-24).

This world is so tricky and cunning. As soon as you’re born, your self-worth, value and purpose is challenged. Suddenly you see the light of day and just as suddenly you are surrounded by mercenaries of the ‘adversary’ trying to shape and mold you into the image of the world value system. When you were born, you were cute and sweet, lovable and precious. You were fine just like you were. As you begin to mature you begin to be bombarded with: “If you don’t dress like this, you are not fashion literate and that’s not good”; “If you don’t get your hair done at that shop you’re not in tune with what’s happening”; “If you don’t drive that car you’re killing the planet”; “Everyone has an iPod, you should too”; “If you’re not politically correct you’re a bigot”; “If you don’t drink, smoke, get high or be promiscuous or immoral, you can’t be a friend or achieve success, because everyone who is somebody drinks, smokes, gets high and is a whoremonger.” Unfortunately some of the very talented and gifted people fall in line with that peer pressure and their lives are a total mess! You know, Apostle Paul made a very simple statement, but when you observe the Corinthian life style of the rich and famous, you realize that it is a very profound and prophetic statement; “Don’t give place to the devil (Ephesians 4:27).” Let’s say you are an aspiring actor or actress and you meet with an agent or a talent scout, but you don’t drink hard liquor. Your agent says, “We will meet in a bar, have a few drinks and discuss the movie project they want you to be a part of.” You go there with the intention of having ginger ale, but your agent tells you that you will have to start drinking hard liquor. Now you’re faced with deciding if getting somewhere in the industry is worth compromising your principles. You say it’s just one drink, but you have just given “place to the devil.” As the years go by, you wake up with a successful acting career, but you’ve so compromised your principles and value system that your life is a mess and the whole world feeds off your moral degradation. All this because one compromise led to more and more demands and compromising your value system…

I’ve got a question for you; did that agent, or director or talent scout or boss give you the talent that you have? Think about it. All they have done is mold you into the image of the world, telling you that “you have to do this in order to get the world to see your talent.” It seriously sounds like prostituting your talent or gift. Really! Note that God declares that He knew you when you were in your mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5). God gave you your gift; but He gave it to you for His good purpose (Ephesians 1:11) and not to be another notch on the world’s belt. If you have observed: notches on a wall or a belt just look like notches… nothing special. However, it looks like graffiti to God (a sinful mess all over your soul). You can act like everything is okay, but you have sold yourself and worth for “30 pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15).” A struggling street musician has more self-worth then you do because every time he gets applauses, every time he sees someone put money into the hat, he gets encouraged and assesses his growing value, and not one of his audiences asks him or compels him to compromise his principles.

Well, that is the sad state of affairs. So how do you get joy and freedom? I suggest that you step back and take a serious look at the trappings and maneuver your way through the entangled worldly maze. I like the way Apostle Paul (1 Corinthians 13:12) and Michael Jackson put it, “Take a look at the man in the mirror”. If you look, you will see the reflection of how the world has molded you; but if you look at the reflection in the Bible, you will see how God made you. He formed you as a man or woman and He said it was good (Genesis 1:27-31 ) He stitched into your essence a gift or a talent and placed on your imageheart a charge to use that gift to sustain your provisions and to impact others for His glory. Your image, your moral instincts and discernment between right and wrong were God infused into the fabric of your soul, but now your vision is impaired and cloudy; your image is sinfully stained.  Because of His love, grace and mercy, you can be rescued…you can be saved! You can be delivered in a crowded room or in the privacy of your home. All you have to do is confess to God that you have sinned against Him, invite Christ into your heart and confess Jesus Christ, who died on the cross then rose again on the third day, as your LORD and Savior. Then you shall be “changed, freed and delivered.” After this, when you look into the mirror, God will show you just how much He treasures you and how you can use your talent and walk in His purpose without compromise. You think your talent is seen now, just wait until God becomes your agent. The world “ain’t seen nothing yet!”

Those people who have made you a disciple of the world with promises of wealth and fame… Don’t you know that God can take them out faster than a blink of an eye? We really dwell too much on how we appear to man who is subject to God (whether they know it or not). It’s not just the publically immoral, but it’s the average Jane Doe and John Smith (whether they go to church or not) that spend too much time being anxious about how they appear to other people. The One who created heaven and earth with a Word; the One who already declared that He will make a new heaven and earth whenever He pleases; the One who decides whether you live or die; the One who has already promised eternal death for the wicked; that’s the One who you should be concerned about pleasing.

Caution! Don’t be as the rich man who asked what more can he do to assure himself of eternal life. Christ replied, “Sell all you have and give to the poor and follow Me.” The man bowed his head and went away sorrowfully (Matthew 19:21-22). I don’t know how great your acquaintances are, I don’t know your economic status or your influential position, but it is not greater than what God can give or take away. All those ‘things’ will become ashes. The disciples asked Christ, “then who can be saved?” Christ replied, “Anyone who gives up anything to follow Me will get it back a hundred times more.” (Matthew 19:25-29)

I have placed before you a plan of deliverance. Right now, you are a Spiritual ‘Zombie’: dead in your trespasses; and the world you are in is shoveling sand on your body every day. The media has already written your obituary! Christ is giving you a choice: Life or death. You don’t need a scriptwriter or a talent agent to be set FREE. The Holy Spirit breathed the Holy Bible thousands of years ago. Jesus Christ has already given the perfect sacrificial ‘performance of a lifetime’. He gave up position, status and wealth just to write your life story with His own blood, sweat and tears. He was your ‘stand-in’. Jesus Christ died on a cross so that your life story would have a happy ending!

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known (NIV).    1 Corinthians 13:12

That’s Today’s Single Focus.

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

I would venture to answer, “Impossible!” It is impossible for any creation of God to have no purpose! Unfortunately it is possible to not be operating in that purpose. Admittedly, there are men who misconceive or limit their purpose and neither do they pursue that purpose. They tend to think that going to work everyday is the totality of their purpose to the point of becoming a workaholic. There are many reasons for this mindset. One may be that they don’t spend time with Christian men in church or informally at lunch or dinner. With all these books on knowing your purpose, you would think that it would be impossible that any human being would lack the knowledge of their purpose. Is your husband a Christian? Well, let’s assume he is. Because irregardless, many men define their purpose according to what the world dictates. They get a sermon during the commercial when they watch Sports on TV; they get a sermon during lunch talks at the job; and their boss gives them a sermon. By the time they get home to you, their wife, they express negatively what they think their purpose is. They think that their purpose is to go to work, come home and read the newspaper or watch TV. They might express that their purpose is to eat the dinner you have hot and ready when they get home from work; or to support their hobby with their overtime money! They might behave as if they think their purpose is to dictate to you what your purpose is relative to making them happy. They may express that your purpose is to be under their authority. You would assist him in his purpose, but once a car is parked, there really isn’t a need for assistance to a parked car (I wonder if this is one of those irreconcilable differences that they put on divorce papers)… But then there are the husbands that go to church and have lunch with men of God and they think the same way as afore-mentioned. They may never mention the word ‘purpose’. You love him, but his lack or misunderstanding of purpose is making your marriage like a ship on a stormy sea. Because you spend time in Bible study with women of God, you believe that you know your purpose. You have a dream, but your spouse does not or if he does, he hasn’t expressed it nor is he working on it.

Well, we have to work in order to eat, especially the man of the house with a family to take care of. After all God did put Adam to work, immediately. Of course after their sin, work would become a burden (Genesis 3:19). As we clearly see, work has become burdensome in more ways than one. It can become a resource or weapon in the cunning hands of the adversary (1 Peter 5:8). Your husband has a job, yet you say he has no purpose. We all must understand that purpose is given by the Ultimate Authority, which is the True and Living God. Is he interested in knowing his purpose, which is beyond going to work everyday? If he is, then he should be asking the Ultimate Authority. You have to seek wisdom from God. Whatever you do, you don’t want to get worldly advice on what his purpose is. Your girlfriends don’t live with him or you, so they don’t know. You don’t want to make the mistake that Eve did (Genesis 3:4); taking the advice of a snake. Because, then not only your husband, but you also will be living out of the purpose and will of God.

Let me ask you, “Do you really know your purpose?” Do you really understand purpose? Does your spouse understand purpose? Every human being is a product and is created to be a conduit of one purpose and that’s God’s good pleasure. It could be that you and your spouse have mistaken ‘purpose’ for ‘ambition’. Your question may really be, “suppose my husband has no dream?”, because, we all have the same purpose. Perhaps you have a passion for using your gift to accomplish that purpose and your husband shows no passion or signs of using any kind of gift to reach that God-given purpose. So let’s identify purpose and you will see that your husband does indeed have purpose, but we must pray and encourage him to use his gift to carry out that purpose. Look at Genesis 1:26. God said, “Let us make man in our image.” Then He gave them purpose in Genesis 1:28;“Be fruitful and multiply.” God charged mankind to multiply His physical image throughout the world. In Genesis 2:24 He designed the way this purpose would be accomplished; “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Growing the population was ordained to be done in the context of marriage. Multiplying the image of God or growing the population is the purpose God gave to man. The world leaders and politicians need to make note of that as they spread this demonic doctrine (1 Timothy 4:1) of abortion on demand and complaints about world population growth. They are very much on the wrong side of God’s purpose and will. Look at creation. God said, “Let there be” and vegetation, seas, stars, animals, etc suddenly appeared and was in existence at His word. However, with His hands, He personally shaped Adam and then this Great and Powerful God, bent down and breathed into his nostrils and man became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). God is not only physical (John 1:14), but He is also Spirit. Our purpose, your spouse and your purpose is to be fruitful and multiply the image of God, both physically*through marriage and spiritually through the word of your testimony. Multiplying His physical image is easy; it’s the spiritual image that is tricky. This is where ‘passionately using the gifts’ comes in. Conclusively, your spouse has purpose, he just doesn’t exhibit the ‘passionately use of gifts’ in order to accomplish that purpose. Are you passionately using your gift to carry out that purpose?

It may boil down to the fact that neither of you see the true purpose. Your purpose is not to open a Bookstore or cut a Gospel CD. This is just the method by which you are to accomplish your purpose. Agreeably your husband can’t achieve the purpose by watching TV or be worldly logical by trying to stop you from pursuing your God-given passion. If you both clearly understood purpose, then you both would pursue everyday life with passion. Actually going to the job everyday would become a mission. Going to the job everyday would become a spiritual passion. Not to just get paid, but to touch lives so that the spiritual image of God would be multiplied. The struggle is getting your spouse to comprehend that. This will necessitate much prayer.

Your life, his life, all our lives is about the Glory of God. How can you know your gift and use your gifts? How can you develop a passion to grow the kingdom? The first thing God did after establishing their purpose was to develop a relationship with Adam and Eve. Apparently God customarily walked with them in the cool of the day. This is where developing a passion, being gifted and given a dream starts; with a relationship with God. I’m not talking about a simple believe in your heart and confessing with your mouth, “Sunday go meeting” faith. I’m talking about being full of the spirit, consistently walking with, talking with God, and ‘feeling His embrace’ kind of relationship (John 3:7). The kind of personal relationship that discerns His righteousness, hates what He hates, and passionately seeks His glory and will! Just think about the conversations God and Adam had in their walks through the garden. Not only did God give Adam direction but He spent time with him. Adam spent time in His presence.

I guarantee that as soon as that personal relationship develops you will clearly understand purpose and God will reveal to you how to use your gift to achieve the purpose (Ephesians 4:1-12). He will give you a dream and a passionate pursuit of that dream by using your gift for the Glory of God (Matthew 4:19)! You will then discover that ‘Purpose’ is more than a pursuit. It is a walk; a lifestyle; the air we breathe.

No creation is without purpose. True purpose is the product of a personal relationship with the True and Living God.

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, (Ephesians 4:1(KJV)

That’s Today’s SingleFocus…

A Book that might be helpful is: ‘The Kingdom Agenda’ by Dr. Tony Evans
'What A way To Live'

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