Tag Archive: SingleFocus


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

 

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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®)

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.

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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…

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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…