Tag Archive: encourage


by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

After eating the last of a delicious store-bought watermelon, I decided to do what we always did as kids: throw the seeds into the backyard. However, instead of haphazardly tossing them, I placed the seeds in a crudely dug hole in the flower garden at the end of the patio. Then, expecting no fruit except by chance, I patted dirt on top with the bottom of my shoe to cover the seeds. While on one of my furloughs, after weeks and months of traveling, I looked out the French doors and saw, growing at the end of the patio, a pale green vine with tiny yellow flowers on it. It was a mystery to me! Delighted to see any resemblance of flowers in my neglected garden, I gave it little thought. To my surprise, on my next furlough, I saw emerging from now dense vines, a beautiful green watermelon sitting neatly on the patio. I had forgotten sowing watermelon seeds there. To my delight, I reaped a magnificently tasty watermelon.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. (Proverbs 18:21) 

Have you ever deliberately said something and forgot about it? Words, thoughts, and actions are like forgotten planted seeds. The only problem is that all seeds do not reap good tasting fruit. I heard the story of a man always saying with a laugh, for about twenty years, “I’ll see you tomorrow if I don’t get killed by a train before midnight.” It was his running joke. One night around 11:30pm he decided to go to the store. As he approached the railroad crossing, the streetlights were out. He didn’t see the train coming. Two minutes before midnight, his car was hit by a train. His words were ill-fated seeds that produced deadly fruit.

Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. (Job 4:8)

man in blue long sleeve shirt talking

Photo by Anthony Shkraba on Pexels.com

As Issacs’s sight grew dim, at his mother’s urging, Jacob disguised himself as Esau, his brother, and received the blessing meant for the eldest son from his father. He tricked his dying dad and stole his brother’s blessings (Genesis 27:35). Then, he ran for his life because, naturally, Esau was not pleased. He eventually fled to stay with his mother’s brother, Laban. While there, he worked for seven years to marry Rachel whom he loved; but the seed his actions planted began to bear fruit. At the urging of Laban, his older daughter, Leah, disguised herself as Rachel and tricked Jacob into marrying her instead of the love of his life. Like Esau was hurt and dismayed when he discovered the deception, Jacob was also. He spent the next thirteen years reaping the harvest of the seed he planted (Genesis 31:41).

For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts… (Mark 7:21)

Job was a godly man who avoided iniquity. One day the devil went to the LORD and made a bargain. He believed that he could get Job to curse God if he took his stuff. He wanted to get Job to plant an ill-fated seed with his mouth. So, in one day, Job’s cattle, camels, servants, and children were gone. Job did not curse God but fell on the ground and worshipped (Job 1:20). Then, the LORD gave the devil permission to afflict his body but not allowed to kill him. Though his wife urged him to do so, Job did not curse God (Job 2:9). However, while cursing his own birth, Job revealed the seed he had planted; “What I feared has happened.” Job never said, “I fear…;” he thought it. He sowed a seed with his thoughts. (Job 3:25)

Whatever a man sows, that shall he also reap. (Galatians 6:7-8)

Sowing and reaping is a consequential law written into creation (Genesis 1:11) which we don’t pay enough attention to. We go around with a mouth full, handful, and mind full of seeds. Whether we reap good or bad fruits depends upon the seeds we plant. Problem is, we are opening our mouths, hands, and minds haphazardly tossing seeds all over the place. Throughout our lives we go about planting seeds and forget about it, until it bears fruit. And then it is a mystery why the fruit is there. If it’s good fruit, we attribute to the grace of God. When its bitter fruit, some attribute to God’s plan to teach a lesson, which is what ‘church folk’ too often erroneously (James 1:13) say. Some things we do, say and think are habits we get from TV, friends, family, teachers, cultural traditions, etc. It is a lifestyle, like breathing. For example, “My back is killing me” or “Scared to death” or “I barely have enough to get by,” or “They won’t hire me because…” These are seeds best never spoken. Notice that Job never blamed his misfortune on God. The mystery of the fruit is all about the seeds sowed without thought or belief that it will produce fruit except by chance. It is the LORD God that gives harvest according to seeds sowed.

For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. (Galatians 6:8)

If we considered the law of the harvest, we would actively deliberately plant more seeds according to the fruit we want. When you get paid, like most people, you usually plant it into a Savings Account to collect interest. Nowadays the interest is exceedingly small. But look at what the LORD says about planting according to the Spirit; “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in Mine house, and prove Me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).” The LORD reveals that if you plant 10% of your money in Him, you will gain exceedingly great interest; more than you can hold.

Now, suppose that same principle is deliberately applied to words, thoughts, and deeds. What is it that is good and prosperous that you want? What benefits the kingdom and fulfills the will of God and brings Him glory? Say it and meditate on it. Sow positive righteous seeds in words, actions, and thoughts. Some plant good seeds without thought but imagine what a greater harvest could be had if seeds were deliberately sowed according to desired harvest.

A man’s belly shall be satisfied with the fruit of his mouth; and with the increase of his lips shall he be filled. (Proverbs 18:20)

In the gym, as athletes worked out, I’d hear the trainers saying, “You can do it!” and they do it; they meet their goal. If sowing to the flesh reaps good, how much more will sowing to the Spirit reap? Let the Holy Spirit be your trainer or coach and sow the words of the LORD, not words of the devil or the flesh. Instead of saying, “I can’t” which produce inability; sow the Word, “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me (Philippians 4:13)which will produce abundant ability and the benefits thereof.

Think before you say it. Self-pity words produce depression. Angry words produce a wicked brew. Frighten words reap fear. Witty words reap laughter. Kind words reap kindness. Encouraging words reaps encouragement. Positive words produce positive outcomes.

Certainly, some of us have already sowed bad seeds. After the LORD confronted him, Job confessed and immediately repented. Then, he sowed a different seed: he prayed for his friends. As a result, he reaped a doubly good harvest; “And the LORD restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before (Job 42:10).It is not too late to reap a good harvest. Repent, and change seeds (1John 1:9).

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth and said, “Let there be…” and it was, and it was all ‘good’ (Genesis 1:1-25). God made us in His image; so, when we say, “Let there be…” and it is, is it all good?

If not, could it be something we said?

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Annually, I go to see the family Physician for a regular check-up. And every year I have to fill out the same papers. However, I noticed a change in the forms. There are the standard questions, but now there are additional questions. Like, “Have you been out of the country recently?” However, there is one question that remains constant; “Who do they call in a medical crisis or emergency?” And we put down the name of the usual: parents, brother or sister, wife or husband, etc. Today, I got to thinking; when we have an emergency, who is the first person we call?

When my house caught fire, my first call was to 911. I know that it would have been unwise to call anybody else first. But, I was thinking about how, when in a crisis, God isn’t always who we reach out to first. I mean; when I saw the fire in my house, I don’t remember saying, “Lord please help,” before I called 911.

Further examination reveals that we encourage others that God is a very present help in time of trouble, but, too often, we have to say that because they had not called on him yet. Come to think about it; God is not often the very first person we call in a crisis. I’m not saying that as an indictment, it’s just an observation. I thank God for the first responders and the medical professionals, and the mechanics, plumbers and remodelers, and counselors and family and encouragers who are there responding to our 911. But, we don’t have a habit of acknowledging God first (silently or audibly) before we pick up the phone. In Proverbs 3:6, we are admonished to acknowledge God in all our ways. That’s something we really should work on.

SomethingHappens

by D.J. Martin

There is an account of a crisis experienced by the rebellious son of Ahab, who was now the king of Judah in 2Kings 1:1-17. Ahaziah fell through a lattice of his upper room. The injury became more than a bruise. It looked as if the wound was becoming a deadly crisis. So, the first thing he did was send messengers to Ekron to ask their idol god Baalzebub if he would die of his wound. God observed all of this and sent Elijah, the prophet, to turn the messengers back with a question from Him; “Is it because there is no God in Israel that you are sending to ask of Baalzebub god of Ekron?”

Because of the king’s action, God answered his inquiry, though he hadn’t asked Him.“Therefore, you will not come off your bed, but you shall surely die.” Ahaziah did everything to annul that prophecy. He continually sent troops to bring Elijah to him but failed. Finally, God allowed Elijah to say it to the king face to face. Indeed, as God had said he would, King Ahaziah died. He never heard from the god of Ekron.

Hmm…I’m just wondering what the prognosis might have been if Ahaziah called on God first.

In your time of crisis, who are you going to call first?

 

“In the day of my trouble, I will call upon You, for You will answer me.” Psalm 86:7

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

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

man in ruins

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

That’s Todays’ Single Focus…

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED