Tag Archive: Israel


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

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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

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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

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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®)

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…

by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

I believe that this is God’s resolve for us. I’ll let  Him speak in His own Words…

Happy New Year!Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: “I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; Oh, what a sinful nation they are loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the LORD. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on Him. Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; Strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.
Stop bringing Me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts Me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting; they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. Your new moons and your appointed feasts I hate: they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear [them].
When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
A. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean;
B. Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil;
C. Learn to do good;
D. Seek justice,
E. Rebuke the oppressor;
F. Defend the fatherless;
G. Plead for the widow.”
“Come now, and let us reason together”, saith the LORD: “though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land: But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword”; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken. Isaiah 1:1-20

Jesus said unto him, “Thou shalt
A. Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”                       Matthew 22:37

And when you stand praying,
A. Forgive, if you have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

Jesus said unto them, “My meat is to
A. Do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.” John 4:34

Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and
A. Fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power,
B. That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 1:11

Though we face uncertainty and challenges in the New Year, may we resolve to examine ourselves and put away sinful disobedience so that we will do the work that God has called us to and focus on His will & purpose. May this New Year bring ‘Good News’ and experience of the delivering, providing, forgiving, healing and victorious grace, mercy and power of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ!

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.”   3 John 1:2

That’s Todays’ Single Focus