Tag Archive: heart


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®)

What outrageous times we live in! There are places where tyrants dictate how many boys or girls they can have. And then there are places where people delight in shedding the blood of innocent babies to the tune of over 60 million. I don’t know how that compares to the number killed by Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. (Exodus 1:15-22) The irony is that there are wives desperate to have children. Some of them are trying to adopt, and some are on fertility diets. Some are working out and taking vitamins. Some women are soliciting surrogates or going to fertilization specialist. And of course, there are those who are reading their Bibles, and weeping and praying.

I don’t know how long you’ve been waiting and praying. No doubt, you’re thinking, “What is this silence from heaven?” Even though you may not have conceived yet, the words of the three Hebrew men put into the fiery furnace remains true; “…our God whom we serve is able…” (Daniel 3:17)

Take a look at what Hannah did when the LORD shut up her womb. (1 Samuel 1:1-28; 2:1-10) Though she wanted children, her husband’s other wife, who was very fertile, mocked and harassed her. Hannah and her husband were devout worshippers. They were good people. Consistently, they went to the “house of the LORD,” where Hannah prayed for a child. Year after year, though she prayed, she was verbally tormented by the other wife.

As unremitting harassment and anxiety brought her to tears, Hannah relentlessly prayed. On one of their usual visits to the “house of the LORD,” she wept and prayed intensely. She prayed quietly and desperately; only God could hear her. However, when the priest, Eli, saw her moving her lips with no sound, he thought her drunk from drinking too much wine.

Notice in verse 11 of 1Samuel 1, when Hannah prayed, her request was no longer about the embarrassment or her pride. This time, her request became about the glory of God. “O’ Lord of hosts, if You will indeed look on the affliction of me, your handmaid, and remember me, and give me a man-child, then I will give him unto You LORD all the days of his life…”

After explaining that she was not drunk but praying, Eli, not knowing her prayer request, blessed Hannah saying, “Go in peace and may God grant the request you asked of Him.” (1Samuel 1:17) Then, Hannah left the “house of the LORD” with a different attitude. She was not anxious anymore. (Philippians 4:6-7) She wasn’t pregnant but, she left feeling very good. (1Samuel 1:18)

What happened? Eli was a confirmation to Hannah that God heard her prayer. Hasn’t that happened to you? After you’ve prayed in secret to God about something, someone from your church or the pastor says something relevant to your prayer. Then, your anxiety disappears, and suddenly peace comes over you.

In timely fashion, the LORD opened her womb and blessed Hannah so that she conceived a boy name, Samuel (1Samuel 1:20). She kept her vow, and when he was only a child, she left Samuel with Eli to serve in the “house of the LORD.” (1Samuel 1:24) But, praise God; that is not how the story ends. Hannah praised the LORD and declared His goodness and power. (1Samuel 2:1-10) Then, Eli blessed and prayed for Hannah and her husband that they have more children. (1Samuel 2:20) God answered that prayer and opened her womb again and again. Hannah had three more sons and two daughters.

Perhaps you can identify with Hannah. Could be the culture is tormenting you. Could be it is pride that makes you anxious. It could be that having a child or children is the sincere desire of your heart, so you are praying. I’m not going to tell you what I think the lesson is in Hannah’s prayer or her testimony. I want you to do that. Study the story for yourself.  Let the Holy Spirit minister to you.

However, I will point out the glaring or most obvious:

  1. Though her womb was shut, she persistently prayed to the LORD
  2. She received confirmation that the LORD heard her prayer
  3. After prayer and that confirmation, she had an inexplicable peace
  4. At His sovereign timing, the LORD answered her request and opened her womb
  5. She gave the LORD thanks

Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7

Be encouraged. Don’t give up. Don’t stop praying.

“Go in peace; and the God of Israel grant you your petition that you have asked of Him”  1Samuel 1:17

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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

Copyright 2017  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

by d.j. Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

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

‘Waiting’ by D.J. Martin

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

Wait, I say, on the LORD.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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…