Tag Archive: grace


by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

THREE CROSS HILL

It has been written about, talked about, and often repeated; “There’s nothing too hard for God (Jeremiah 32:17; Mark 9:23).” Something else has been written and talked about but not repeated enough; “There’s nothing too hard for God to forgive.” Interestingly, Ahab was an example. He was the wretched king of Israel, who married a callous woman named Jezebel. Enemy of God’s prophets, she was a Baal worshipper, which means that the ceremonial killing of babies was routine. Killing prophets of God was a small thing to her! Ahab did wickedly at the influence of his wife. He behaved “…abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. (1King 21:26 KJV).”

Ahab desired to enlarge his farm by purchasing the vineyard next to his field. So, he offered to pay the owner, Naboth the Jazreelite, or give him another vineyard in trade. But, Naboth refused, because it was his family heritage. Disappointed with Naboth’s answer, Ahab went home, stretched out on his bed, and pouted. Jezebel noticed that something was wrong and asked him, “Why are you too sad to eat?” After Ahab explained what happened, Jezebel responded, “You are king. Get up and eat. Don’t be sad, be happy; I’ll get you the vineyard.” Without asking her how she would, Ahab did as she said.

Now, any other sinful “sane” person would have tried cunning Naboth out of his land or done something unsavory without bloodshed. Not Jezebel! She promptly planned murder. Jezebel wrote a letter detailing the plans to kill Naboth and signed Ahab’s name to it. They honored Naboth to set him up for a fall. Then, as she instructed, they sent men to accuse Naboth of blaspheming God and the king. The Israelites believed their lie and stoned Naboth to death (1Kings 21:13). After Ahab heard about Naboth’s death, he delightfully took possession of the vineyard which he coveted so much.

The LORD then sent Elijah, the prophet, to confront Ahab (1Kings 21:18-19) about the murder of Naboth and the theft of his vineyard. Elijah told Ahab of his awful fate because of his wickedness. After the prophet revealed the word of the LORD to him, Ahab fasted, put on sackcloth, and then laid on sackcloth. He was mournful and remorseful. When He observed Ahab’s reaction, God said to Elijah, “Look at that! Ahab has humbled himself before Me.” And then the LORD said, “Because he humbled himself before Me, I will not bring this punishment in his days: but in his son’s days will I bring it upon his house (1Kings 21:29).”

That is a mouth opener! This man married a Baal worshipper and was an idol worshipper himself (1Kings 16:31), which involved child sacrifice (1Kings 16:34). Ahab even built an altar to Baal (1Kings 16:32). God held him responsible for the death of the innocent Naboth and the theft of his vineyard. Nevertheless, Ahab received forgiveness after a fast of repentance.

Do you think you have done something too horrible or evil for the LORD to forgive??? If the LORD can forgive Ahab, you can receive forgiveness also!

It is not because there was a time that Ahab was so good that he deserved a second chance. No, it is because it is the LORD’s nature to forgive a repentant heart. It is as if the LORD looks for an opportunity to forgive. God is a merciful God. His mercy is everlasting (Psalm 100:5). He could have said nothing and immediately let Ahab slide into the deadly consequences of his wickedness. Especially since he did more evil in the sight of the LORD than any king before him (1Kings 16:30, 33)! The LORD sent His prophet and allowed Ahab the opportunity to do what he did: humbled himself, repented, and fasted.

That all happened years before Christ went to the cross (Psalm 103:12). Christ paid the price for our sins (“For the wages of sin is death…” Romans 6:23) by shedding His blood on Calvary (John 3:16). Therefore, forgiveness is accessible by anyone who has done anything such as theft, idolatry, and murder which is what Ahab did. Because Christ willingly died on the cross, it is, even more, assuring that if we sincerely repent, there is nothing too hard for God to forgive no matter the sin.

“In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace…” Ephesians 1:7

Today’s Single Focus

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D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

I used to attend a church where, when it was time to pray, one particular deacon prayed for an extremely long time. I wouldn’t be surprised if some people fell asleep while he prayed. Seriously, he was long-winded when he prayed. I’ve heard people say, “If we ever needed prayer before, we sure do need it now.” Well, that has never been truer then it is today! Matter of fact, I think we would welcome that praying deacon right about now. Just the other day, I read about a 5-year-old child bowing their head to say ‘Grace’ over their lunch, which was their habit at mealtime, and a teacher told them that they were not allowed to pray. Huh? Like I said; “If we ever needed prayer, we sure do need it now.”

Daniel faced a similar challenge during the reign of King Darius. (Daniel 6) The king set over the regions 120 princes, and over them, he appointed three presidents. Daniel was one of those three presidents. Then, Darius planned to appoint one man over all the regional leaders, including the presidents. Daniel, a man of integrity, was highly favored, by the king, for the job. The jealous leaders didn’t like that. Therefore, they searched for something to discredit Daniel but, could find nothing. So, they decided to use Daniel’s faithfulness to God against him. (Daniel 6:5) Three times a day Daniel opened his window facing toward Jerusalem and prayed to the Lord, God of Israel.

Darius conquered many nations, and though he did not worship the God of Israel, he allowed the people to continue to practice their religions. The jealous princes and presidents went to Darius and persuaded him to sign a decree which would outlaw prayer. For thirty days no one could pray to anyone except to Darius. Violators would be put down into the lion’s den. After Daniel saw that Darius signed the decree, he went to his chambers; opened the window towards Jerusalem (which was his habit), got on his knees and prayed, and gave thanks to the God of Israel three times a day. (Daniel 6:10)

Believing that this would eliminate Daniel from Darius’ favor, the princes hurried to tell the king of Daniel’s violation of the law. Darius, regretting that he had outlawed prayer, tried to think of a way around it but, reluctantly, he had to have Daniel put into the lion’s den. However, after fasting and not sleeping all night, the king hurried to the lion’s den early the next morning and in anguish called, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whom you faithfully serve, able to deliver you from the lions?” To the delight of the king, Daniel answered,  “O King… My God sent His angel, and shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me…” (Daniel 6:12-22)

Darius had Daniel pulled up from the den, and there were no scares or injury found upon him. Afterward, the king (angry at their ploy) commanded that those men who had accused Daniel, be cast into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives. Then, King Darius wrote unto all the people, nations, and languages, which he had conquered; “Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel; for He is the living God, and steadfast forever, and His kingdom shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:23-27)

Look at this. After Daniel prayed; the king fasted for Daniel’s safety, Daniel escaped harm from the lions, and the king glorified the living God throughout the nations. Wow! Imagine what would have happened had Daniel not been persistently praying when they outlawed prayer. I think that Daniel went to his knees in prayer after Darius signed the decree because, “if they ever needed prayer, they sure did need it” then: when they outlawed prayer.

Think it is bad now? Imagine what it would be like if we had ever stopped praying. Then, imagine what it will be like because we never stopped praying.

“…I will call upon God; and the LORD shall save me. Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud; and He shall hear my voice.” Psalm 55:16-17

Don’t stop praying.

Pray without ceasing… 1Thessalonians 5:17

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…

 

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