Tag Archive: family


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

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Publication2

One spring day, I found a Business Card on my front door. It was for a lawn service. When I called the phone number printed on the card, I expected to receive a reasonable quote. The price was indeed reasonable; therefore I commissioned them to groom my lawn. For days before the day they promised to service my lawn, I always brought up in conversation with co-workers and family that I had commissioned someone to groom my lawn. I confessed that my lawn would be mowed that week. On the agreed day which they promised to service my lawn, I eagerly anticipated and expected to go home to a manicured lawn. When I arrived, I indeed saw what I expected. I had never met the men, but after talking to one of them, I had expected them to fulfill their word. They did indeed fulfill their word as I expected.

These were mortal men. They had no super capes around their necks or wings on their feet or on their shoulders. Actually, I did not know what they looked like, yet I expected them to service my lawn because they said they could. When I called them, I did not ask them to paint the house, feed the dog, or repair my car. Their services were limited to what was printed on their Business Card. Furthermore, I left them a payment of gratitude in a secret location before the completion of the work, because I expected them to do what I had asked them to do.

We frequently call on human beings with expectation and anticipation.  How is it that we are uncertain and waver in confidence of the outcome when we pray to or call on the true living God? His Business Card, the Holy Bible, boasts of a multitude of skills and abilities. He is not short of His power, strength nor His promises (2 Corinthians 1:20). We don’t know the limitlessness of His ability unless we read His ‘Business Card’. If we read His ‘Business Card’ we know what He is exceedingly able to do (Ephesians 3:20). So if we know what He is able to do, when we call Him, shouldn’t we expect Him to do what He said He can do?

What do you expect when you pray?

One morning, a neighbor inquired about who takes care of my lawn. They saw how well it was kept and they wanted their contact information. Not only did I give them their telephone number, but I proceeded to tell them of their good attributes. They proceeded to call and hire them on my recommendation and the evidence of my well-maintained yard. My neighbor expected to get the same results as I did, and they did indeed receive what they had expected.

Sometimes we pray or call on God because of the testimony of others. We have seen with our own eyes that He did miraculous work for others. They boasted of Him because they had been healed, given favor, delivered or given peace, and they recommended that we also call on Jesus. I wonder when we follow through on the recommendation of others, do we expect of the Lord as eagerly as we expect the lawn service of mere human beings?

What do you expect when you pray?

I remember while working a minimum wage job, telling co-workers that I was going to buy a house, though I had no money to purchase the home. My co-workers asked me, “How are you going to get a house?” They knew how much I earned because they made the same salary. But God had confirmed to me that He was going to give me my own house. I was always reading His ‘Business Card’, so I eagerly expected and anticipated what He promised. I was always bringing it up in conversations because I believed His promise. I took God at His word. Not only did I get the house, but I have more than one. I received what I expected from God because I read His ‘Business Card’ (John 15:7).

Now, if we expect mortal men to do what their Business Card indicates they can do, shouldn’t’ we expect with even more anticipation exceedingly greater things when we call on God?

What do you expect when you pray?

“Is anything too hard for the LORD?” Genesis 18:14

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

I love this time of year because it causes all men to take time to reflect on all things we are thankful for. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the Pilgrims and Indians who started the right tradition of gathering together on one accord to give thanks to God. The same things they were grateful for are what we in this country can be thankful for today. It was not easy, but they survived. God brought the rain and increased the fruit of the ground which was often times barren land. Thanks be to God, for now they had food from their garden and meat on their table.

confessbwI am thankful for the farmers all over this land. I am thankful for my Uncle Bud who had a peach orchard and my Aunt Birdie who raised my Mom as if she was her own. I am grateful for my grandpa and grandma who had corn fields and raised chickens on a small farm. I am grateful that God sends the rain in due season. I’m thankful for the fresh smell after the rain and the beauty of the frost on a cold morning.

Because some of their family and friends didn’t make it, the Pilgrims and Indians were grateful to be alive having survived disease, hunger and unpredictable weather. There they were, two ethnic groups on one accord, though they had to endure the hardships that those with wicked intent had brought upon them. For there had been thieves and opportunist there. Yet, God kept them safe and brought them together to show their gratitude to Him.

I’m grateful that I was not home when thieves broke into my house and nothing was taken that could not be replaced. I’m grateful that my brother is alive today having survived retrieving my stolen car which he found parked in front of a crack house. I’m thankful that my sister is alive having survived a shooting episode in our community and the disease of cancer. I am grateful that my brothers survived a fire in our house when they were young.  I am thankful that God healed my mother of cancer and protected my father on the battlefield. I’m truly grateful to God for allowing a crack house in the neighborhood to burn down after I prayed.

I am grateful that God established a nation like this where we can freely worship Him in spirit and in truth. I am grateful that I live in a country where I can pursue life, liberty and happiness. I’m grateful that I can pursue my dreams no matter my status or financial beginnings.

I’m grateful for God consistently providing food on my table when I didn’t have two dimes to my name. I’m thankful that I have a roof over my head and a bed to sleep on, though Christ had “no place to lay His head (Luke 9:58).” I’m grateful for Sears Department Store for giving me a part-time job while I pursued my desired and more permanent vocation. I am grateful for a handsome silver-haired Superintendent of Schools for taking a chance on me, when others had not. I am thankful to God for keeping me through the barrage of bomb threats and clandestine but sometimes overt bigotry. I am grateful for a fourth grade student, named Joe who showed me unconditional love, and for three talented third grade boys who boldly discussed Jesus Christ among themselves. I’m grateful for parents that instilled within us love for others no matter the color of their skin, financial status or position.

God has blessed my going out and my coming in, whether in the country or in the city.  I will praise His name and magnify Him with thanksgiving. I am grateful for family and friends. I praise Him for a pastor that teaches the uncompromising truth, which is Jesus Christ. I thank God for His mercy for I have survived rejection, poverty, car crashes, sickness, three surgeries, and a fall from a ladder.

I am grateful that He loves me enough to correct me and refuses to leave me ignorant without understanding. I’m thankful that He freely gives me wisdom and discernment. I am thankful for open doors He created while I rested in Him. I am grateful for praying parents who taught us to seek His face. I’m grateful that He hears and answers prayers. I am thankful that He forgives my sin and loves and has redeemed me.

I could go on and on, but I won’t this time. I will simply say “I will bless the Lord at all times and daily give Him thanks. I will bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits (PSALM 103:2).

Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.  Psalm 100:4

That’s Today’s Single Focus

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

MirrorGirl

People are always saying that I look like my Aunt and they’re always telling my niece that she looks like me when I was here age. We’re frequently commenting that my nephew looks like his daddy when he was his age. One day my nephew mistook a photo of his granddaddy for his dad.

No doubt someone is always remarking that you are the image of your dad or your mother. At one time or another, we’ve all probably been mistaken for someone else by a stranger.

I ran into a woman at the entrance of a bookstore and mistook her for someone I hadn’t seen in months. She looked so much like her, but when I looked a little closer, it became obvious that I didn’t know her at all. On another occasion, I walked up to an older lady in a grocery store and expressed how happy I was to see her. I proceeded to try to remind her where we had met. She worked with a missionary that ran Summer Bible School where my parents had sent us every year. She was instrumental in my acceptance of Christ as my Savior. Before I could continue to tell her that, the lady smiled and said, “You have mistaken me for my sister, I’m her twin.” She was the mirror and truly spitting image of her sister, who had led a room full of kids to Christ.

According to Genesis 1:27 God (Elohim) created Adam and Eve in His own image; “…in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them…God created man, in the likeness of God made He him (Genesis 5:1).” Obviously, according to the scriptures, God told us once and told us twice that Adam was the spitting image of God. Then it goes on to say that Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and Eve bore him “a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth (Genesis 5:3).” So, conclusively, Adam looked like God and Seth looked like Adam.

Then Immanuel (God with us), Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin (Matthew 1:23), walked this earth and lived among His creation. He gathered to Himself disciples and chose 12 Apostles to whom He gave power to preach, cast out evil spirits and heal the sick. He proceeded to give them instructions on what to carry and how to behave. Then He said unto them “He that receives you receives Me, and he that receives Me receives Him that sent Me (Matthew 10:40 ).”

Just before Christ was to present Himself as the sacrifice for our sin, He washed the feet of them and said, “If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another’s feet. I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you (John 13:13, 14, 15). A new commandment I give unto you, that you love one another; as I have loved you… By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another (John 13:34,35).”

Christ (Immanuel) taught and walked the image of God. He said to Phillip in John 14:9 “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” In other words Christ was the spitting image of God. Not only that, but Christ, all that time with His disciples, was teaching them, and empowering them so that they might become a spitting image of Himself.

Apostle Paul put it this way in Romans 12: 2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5-8). For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren (Romans 8:29).”

Consider your ways and your walk. How diligently do you study His Word and how much do you believe and practice His Word? Every Sabbath you talk a good talk, but your co-workers, Church members, strangers, children, spouse, family, friends and acquaintances; who do they say you are the spitting image of: the world, the devil or the Christ?

We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2Corinthians 3:18

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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