Tag Archive: Jesus


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®)

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Something Happens When You Pray by D.J. Martin

The other day, in remembrance of the 75th anniversary of the Allied invasion at Normandy, a recording of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s address to and prayer with the nation aired. When I heard the words of this prayer it reminded me of the blind man standing on the side of the road, who after he heard Jesus was there, began shouting, “Jesus, Thou son of David, have mercy on me (Mark 10:47)!” The people tried to hush him but, the man desperately needed healing from Jesus so, the more they tried to quiet him, the more persistent and louder he got. The blind man kept calling His name until Jesus stopped and then had the man brought to Him. Jesus made his persistence worthwhile, for He granted his request and opened his blinded eyes. Now, not only could he hear Jesus, but he could also see Jesus.

The words of President Roosevelt’s prayer also reminded me of the desperate mother who cried out to Jesus, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Thou son of David; my daughter is severely demon possessed (Matthew 15:22).” Jesus acted as if He didn’t hear her. But, she persisted. Therefore, the disciples said to Him; “Send her away!” When He finally acknowledged her, Jesus told her that He would not help her because of her ethnicity. But, she persisted. Then, He insulted the mother. But, she persisted. Finally, Jesus complimented her undaunted faith and freed her daughter from demonic possession.

To emphasize that we ought always to pray and never give up, Jesus told the story of a widow who went to an ungodly judge. The widow asked the judge for justice against her adversary. He refused, but she kept asking. She was so relentless that the judge grew weary of the widow’s constant approaching him with the same request. Therefore, because of her persistence, he granted her request (Luke 18:1-5). Then, Jesus said to them;

 And shall not God avenge His own elect, which cry day and night unto Him, though He bear long with them? tell you that He will avenge them speedily… Luke 18:7

The Allied Forces fought against the vicious physical and spiritual forces of evil. Though many were overcome with wounds and death, the Allied Forces were persistent and eventually victorious. Life, liberty, and righteousness were well worth fighting for. Their valiant persistence resulted in setting captives free and deliverance of nations from tyranny. There are times when individuals face their own personal battles confronting physical and spiritual forces of evil.

“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places… Wherefore put on the whole armor of God… Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance…” Ephesians 6:12-18

As the Allied Forces, the blind man, and the desperate mother; and Jesus encouraged, be persistent in prayer. Pray without ceasing. We must continually call on the name of “Jesus, son of David.” Don’t allow the strength of the evil, the length of the journey, and the difficulty of the battle to discourage. Let the desperate desire for overcoming, for healing, for deliverance, for righteousness, for freedom, and faith in Christ’s ability determine our persistence. Never give up, because “Jesus, the son David,” is able. We must pray until Jesus stops, hears our cry, has mercy on us, and rewards our undaunted faith.

“Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. 

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. 

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won.” 

Franklin D. Roosevelt

 

“Pray without ceasing.” 1Thessalonians 5:17

That’s Today’s Single Focus

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D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Years ago, a dear misguided acquaintance of mine invited me to the Church he attended. I told him that I would give it some thought. One day he brought a copy of the Church program to me. On the first page at the top of the program was a congregational prayer chant. The first line was “Our Mother/Father God.” It was a very glaring sign that this Church had a shaky doctrine. Jesus is not confused as to whether God is His Father or His Mother. He always called Him, “Father.” The devil will give confusing and contradictory words (Genesis 3). God does not have an identity problem but, the devil will perpetuate identity confusion. If the messenger doesn’t know that God is Father, they are confused and cannot lead you anywhere but to false doctrine and away from the truth. It is a sure sign that they don’t know God and never met the true Christ.

“A Father of the fatherless …is God.” (Psalm 82:3)

What are you waiting to hear?

At that Church and many other religious congregations, they show no love toward their parishioners, in that they do not admonish them to live holy. Instead, they tell them that they are not sinners in need of a Savior. They cleverly preach that “You will not die… (Genesis 3)” They neglect to tell them that those who deliberately live a continuous lifestyle of sin will not see the kingdom of God. (1Corinthians 6:8-10) Endorsing and embracing their sin, unfortunately, they deceive many people. Though in bondage to sin; still, people flock to hear good feeling, ear-tickling messages of positive thinking. The religious leaders will encourage the sick to take their medicine, avoid nicotine and fried foods to protect their physical bodies but, they do not warn them about the fiery destiny awaiting those who mock God and proudly practice immorality (Revelation 21:8). So, the sinners flock to places where they teach that Jesus endorses or has no problem with their sinful lifestyle because this is what they want to hear.

There is a favorite song of the world that has a lyric “Imagine there is no heaven; imagine there is no hell…” When you choose a church or a pastor do you want to hear them say, “There is no hell?”

What are you waiting to hear?

A rich young ruler approached Jesus and asked, “What should I do to assure eternal life?” What do you suppose he wanted to hear Jesus say?  Jesus said, “You know the laws …” The man replied that he had kept them from his youth.  Then, Jesus said, “Sell all you have and give to the poor,” and the young man went away sadly. Do you think he went looking for the Pharisees and Sadducees to start spending more time with them? I just wonder where he went because obviously, Jesus had not said what he wanted to hear. (Luke 18: 18-23) 

 What are you waiting to hear?

Are you visiting churches and making your decision of membership based on whether the preacher condemns living together out of wedlock? What are you waiting to hear? The first miracle Jesus did was at a Wedding between a man and a woman. (John 2:1-8) He confronted the woman at Samaria about “shacking up.” What do you think she was waiting to hear? I know it wasn’t that. That’s why she was at the well at that time of day. However, after hearing the truth from Jesus, she and the town assured their eternal destiny with God. (John 4:16-42) 

What are you waiting to hear?

In Numbers 22 we are told that the Moab and Midian nations, fearing them, strategized how to eliminate the children of Israel.  Therefore, they sent messengers to Balaam to bless them and curse the Israelites. Balaam sought God as to whether he should curse the people. God said, “No.” That’s not what the elders of Moab and Midian wanted to hear. So they offered Balaam a lucrative bribe to say what they wanted to hear. For the fee, Balaam started to travel to speak to them the words they wanted to hear. But God’s angel blocked the path so that the beast Balaam rode would not go forward. Balaam started beating his ride until the beast had enough. Instead of braying, he heard the donkey speak audibly, “Don’t you see that angel blocking the path?” I know that this was not what Balaam wanted to hear. When he recovered his senses, he went to the princes and told them that he would not curse whom God had not cursed. (Numbers 23:8) You know this was not what they were waiting to hear. (Numbers 23:11)

What are you waiting to hear?

Sadly, today there are false prophets leading churches and governments who have accepted bribes and are saying what the enemies of God or the carnal Christian want to hear. They are teaching doctrines of demons. (1Timothy 4:1)

If you are chasing after fads, prophets, and preachers who promise the world but neglect to show you how to have a personal relationship with Christ and receive eternal life, test the spirit. (1John 4:1) Are they saying what the Word of God says or what you want to hear?  If you read the scriptures, you may find that it’s not what you want to hear. But, it will be the truth, and God will remedy your condition and set you free from sin. You’ll become heir and a joint heir with the King and have everlasting life. Don’t just rely on what the preacher is saying. Don’t be deceived, search the scriptures, “for in them you think you have eternal life.” (John 5:39)

What are you waiting to hear?

Four men brought their friend who was sick of the palsy to Jesus. Jesus looked at the man, and said; “Your sins are forgiven.” Not what the Pharisees and Sadducees, who were there, wanted to hear. Jesus, perceiving their thoughts, looked back at the man and said, “Get up, take up your bed and walk!” And the man did just that. Again, this is not what the Pharisees and Sadducees were waiting to hear but, every bit of what that man and his friends wanted to hear. The man heard the truth (“You’ve sinned, but I have forgiven you”) and his condition remedied (healed) in one meeting with Jesus.          (Mark 2:3-12)

What are you waiting to hear?

Saying they caught her in adultery, several Scribes and Pharisees threw a woman at the feet of Jesus. Jesus responded, “He that is sinless, let him throw the first stone.” Not what they were waiting to hear. So her accusers left one by one. When Jesus looked up again, there was no one there but the adulterous woman. Jesus looked at her and asked, “Has no man condemned you?” “No,” she replied. Then, Jesus said to her, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-12) Now, that’s not what she expected to hear but glad she did! (John 12:3)

What are you waiting to hear?

Poor shepherds were watching their flock one night. They were listening for the sound of creatures trying to devour their sheep. They wanted to hear the peaceful and quiet baaing of their sheep. Suddenly an angel appeared engulfed by the light of the glory of God. It frightened them for they weren’t expecting this. They didn’t know what they would hear next. The angel said, “Fear not; for I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” Then, suddenly the sky was full of a host of angels praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2: 8-14)

Now, that’s well worth hearing!

What are you waiting to hear?

“So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:17

That’s Today’s Single Focus

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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

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Publication2

I found a Business Card on my front door one spring day. 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 prior to 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 prior to 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 a 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

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DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

glasseson-book1Preparing to accompany my dad for a short drive, I watched him turn to the right and then to the left. I saw him go to the kitchen and then back to the den. Then he turned and went down the hallway and returned to the den again. As he stood there, I inquired if he was ready to go. With a puzzled expression on his face he answered, “I was looking for my glasses.” I matter-of-factually replied, “They are on your nose.”

This is an event that is ageless. Everyone has observed or been in a similar situation whether it is sunglasses or readers: looking for the glasses and discover that they are on the head, around the neck or in the hands. Everyone has misplaced something and as they say when you’ve found it, “If it had been a snake it would have bitten you.” It was closer than realized.

Every Sunday morning we go to worship and faithfully assemble in the Sanctuary to seek the face of God and His presence, but during the week, too many of us have misplaced Him and left Him there. It’s as if (in our minds) His place and power is only in that edifice. As we face the battle of life, we think God can’t catch us when we fall unless we’re at the church house, so we come up with our own devices and search for solutions in the world.  Too many of us are satisfied to be victims instead of victors as if ‘victory in Jesus’ is only a praise song we sing on Sunday mornings.

Remember the two walking a seven mile journey back to their home (Luke 24)?  Jesus walked up to them and inquired what it was that they were discussing so intently. Surprised at the question, they told Him all about what had tragically transpired with Christ. Notice that angels did not blow trumpets, nor was there a choir or praise team anywhere around. Jesus merely came along side, and began to explain the truth of the Scriptures and reveal Himself through the words of the prophets. He didn’t wait until they got to the Sanctuary; He walked with them on the road as they made their long journey. Yet, they did not know that it was Him, until He broke the bread at their table. They were very sad, but their sorrow turned to gladness and discouragement turned to hope as He walked, talked, and dined with them. They were perplexed and dismayed, until they realized He had been with them all the time. When they realized who He was, they were so overjoyed that they ran back another seven miles to tell the other disciples that Christ was truly alive and had walked and talked with them. As they reported this, to their surprise, He appeared again to all of them.

Christ is not just in the Sanctuary. He is more than a song we sing or a sermon we hear on a Sunday morning. He is strength and security on a Monday morning. He is encouragement and enlightenment on a Wednesday afternoon. He is rest and refuge on a Friday evening. He is comfort and companion on a long day’s journey. He is truth and triumph, our up close and personal champion.

If Christ is not with you until you get to the Sanctuary, life is a defeated and depressive mystery.  The two travelers were not looking for Him along their journey, because all they knew was that He was crucified and buried after He died; and now the tomb was empty, and they didn’t know where His body was. But suddenly there He was, walking with them, closer than they realized.

Have you misplaced Him in your life? Where are you looking for Christ? Where are you looking for God? Do you get so distracted that you lose sight of Jesus? Do you leave Him at the Sanctuary or in the Sunday-School classroom?

Don’t just place Him as Lord of your Sunday mornings.  If you take time to meditate on His Word and what you’ve been taught, the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of the Scriptures to you. I’m confident that you’ll find that He is closer than you realize. Placing Him as Lord of everyday means that you don’t have to wait until Sunday morning or when you get to heaven to experience freedom and victory.

“Christ with you” is more than a song on Sunday morning!

 

“Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”  Matthew 28:20

 “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”  Hebrews 13:5

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

In the Beginning:

woman handsWsnakeAdam said, “The woman whom You gave me, she gave me of the forbidden tree, and I did eat.” Then the LORD God said unto the woman, “What have you done?” And Eve said, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” The LORD God said unto the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed above all cattle, and every beast of the field; upon your belly you’ll go, and dust you’ll eat all your life:

And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; it shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:12-15

Seed of the Woman:

The angel of the Lord appeared unto Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, fear not to take Mary as your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.”

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, “Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”

Then Joseph did as the angel of the Lord had said, and made Mary his wife: but, knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called His name JESUS.  Matthew 1:20-25

Bruising the Heel:

The chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put Him to death. When they had bound Him, they led Him away, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate, the governor. When He was accused by the chief priests and elders, He said nothing.

Pilate went out unto the Jews, and said unto them, “I find in Him no fault at all.” John 18:38.

At this time they had a notorious prisoner, called Barabbas. Therefore, when they were gathered together, Pilate said unto them, “Whom do you want me to release unto you; Barabbas or Jesus who is called Christ? They said, “Barabbas” Then Pilate asked, “What shall I do then with Jesus who is called Christ? They all said, “Let Him be crucified.” And the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified.” Then Pilate took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just person…

They crucified Him, and set up over His head His accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

From the 6th hour there was darkness over all the land unto the 9th hour. And about the 9th hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me? Jesus, when He had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. That very evening, a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple, went to Pilate, and begged for the body of Jesus. Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his own new tomb, hewed out of the rock: and he rolled a great stone over the door of the sepulcher, and left. Matthew 27:1-61

Bruising the Head:

The next day, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate, saying, “Sir, we remember that deceiver, while He was yet alive said, “After 3 days I will rise again.” Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure until the 3rd day, lest His disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, “He is risen from the dead…” So they went and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting guards. Matthew 27: 62-66

At the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the 1st day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to the sepulcher. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. And the angel said unto the women, “Fear not: for I know that you seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come; see the place where the Lord was laid.” And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goes before you into Galilee; there shall you see Him…” The women departed quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples the news. As they went to tell His disciples, Jesus met them. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshiped Him. Then said Jesus unto them, “Be not afraid: go tell My brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see Me.” The 11 disciples went into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth… lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:1-20

The End?

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation. Hebrews 9:28

When I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying unto me, “Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. Revelation 1:17-18

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 1Corinthians 15:55

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

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DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)
Forever LifeFor ages men and women have searched and researched methods to prolong the youthfulness of human beings. Until they find the real ‘Fountain of Youth’, they hire makeup artist and purchase cosmetic Do-It-Yourself kits that give the illusion of youthfulness. They even have cosmetic surgeons that nip and tuck, lift and lower the skin to create and maintain a youthful appearance forever. But God has a plan that money cannot buy.

Since He is the eternal God who has a forever love toward the people He created, He has the solution. It’s a solution that doesn’t have to be camouflaged and is not phony. It is a formula and a recipe which value is immeasurable; no human being or nation has treasures adequate enough to buy. All the gold in the entire world cannot purchase this balm. The largest vault in the entire world cannot contain it; no not even the oceans can hold it. There have already been advertisements about it, but many don’t believe it, because it’s ‘free’. Many don’t believe that it will work, because it is too simple. But God has an ‘organic’ perfectly safe and perfectly free solution. He has the perfect formula to give mankind eternal life. It’s ‘free’; God has already paid the perfect price, because the cost was too high for even the richest person alive to afford.

God sent His only begotten Son to make the purchase which was at a tremendously great price. His Son did not bring, from heaven, silver, gold or precious stone. His Son gave His life. The formula required the blood of a perfect sacrificial lamb. This lamb was Jesus Christ. Anyone, rich or poor, male or female, young or old can acquire eternal life. All they have to do is believe in the Son and His blood sacrifice. All who believe in Jesus Christ and except Him as Savior can have forever/eternal life. To everyone who receives it and believes it, they can have everlasting life; they can live with the forever God forever.

Jesus Christ was born of a virgin. He did not have the blood of a man running through His veins. He was the only begotten Son of the true and living God. He was the perfect sacrifice. Because of God’s great love for mankind, His creation, God gave His Son to make the payment for our sins. Before Christ, life’s end was a certainty, because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Because of the Son’s love for the Father, Christ willingly offered up Himself as the blood sacrifice for the atonement of our sins; thus, assuring the opportunity for all mankind to live forever.

Jesus Christ has already put in the time, blood, sweat and tears and death to make the payment required to ensure your life forever. All you have to do is believe in and accept the gift. If you believe that He has paid the price, you can receive forever life for free.

You don’t have to wait until you get to heaven to receive eternal life. You don’t have to write more books of the Bible; you don’t have to persuade ten men to join the church; and you don’t have to give more money to the preacher. Nothing you can do, buy or sell will give you forever life. Forever life is ‘free’! Christ, alone, has picked up the tab. All you have to do is accept the gift. It is by the blood of Jesus Christ, alone, that forever life is available.

The great thing about the formula for eternal life is that it has been tested and proven. Jesus volunteered to prove its truth. He let people beat Him, nail Him to a cross and keep Him there until He died. Then they laid Him in a tomb and covered it with a great stone. Early one morning one of the women followers met Him near the tomb where they had laid His body. To her amazement and delight, He was alive and well!

He now sits on the right hand of God, ready to give forever life to anyone who desires it. “No Charge!”

All you have to do is believe, ask Him and receive it. I am a witness; it works! Christ is alive; He has risen just like He said He would and He lives forever more!

“I am He that lives, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Revelations 1:18

That’s Today’s’ Single Focus…

brazillianChrist2by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Imagine someone who walks and goes with you wherever you go.

Imagine someone who is with you when you’re in a storm

and when you are weeping in front of a burial tomb.

Imagine someone in whom you trust with your money.

Imagine someone who you speak with everyday.

Imagine someone who values your insight and advice.

Imagine someone whom you pray for and with every single day.

Imagine someone who you always invite to go with you to dinner parties.

Imagine someone who is there every time you lead Bible study.

Imagine someone who eagerly does anything you ask them to.

Imagine someone who you love enough to wash their feet.

Imagine someone who sat next to you at your last supper.

Imagine that someone taking 30 pieces of silver to help imprison you.

Imagine that someone going to your favorite praying spot

and betraying you by kissing you on the cheek.

Imagine that someone helping church leaders frame you

and bring you into Federal Court and falsely accuse you.

Imagine that someone hidden in the shadows as he hears you sentenced to death.

Imagine that someone watching you be paraded, bloody, beaten, and bruised

on your way to die on Calvary.

Where is the loyalty? What price for unfaithfulness to a friend? Is 30 pieces of silver a fair price for betrayal of a trust? What is so valuable that betrayal of a friend, spouse or family, whom you profess love, is more profitable than loyalty? Do the disloyal get caught up in momentary pleasure?

What Price Loyalty???

This Judas decided that 30 pieces of silver was indeed not enough to watch his friend die. So he tossed the money away and hung himself (Matthew 27:5). Alas, so much death follows betrayal of a trust.  So much is lost after disloyalty: life, friendship, family, even a nation.

But praise be to God, Christ did not betray His loyalty to God, the Father. Christ never, not once, betrayed His faithfulness to the words the angels said, “Unto you is born… a Savior (Luke 2:11).” Thereby the disloyal and the unfaithful can be redeemed and receive forgiveness (1John 1:9).

Christ did not betray His friends; in that He gave His life for His friends (John 15:13). He died on Calvary for you and me, even before we became His friends.

Wow! That’s loyalty, trust and faithfulness extraordinaire!

Praise be to God, unlike Judas, the betrayer (Matthew 10:4), Christ got up from the grave and is seated on the right hand of the Father making intercession for His friends (Romans 8:34).

But according to 1Thessalonians 4:17 that’s not how the story ends…

“… and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.”  Revelations 17:14

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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by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

“…Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” LUKE 2:11 (KJV)

LUKE 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar
Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first
made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the S...

And all went to be taxed every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she
should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the
shepherds said one to another, “Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. ISAIAH 9:6

I pray that Christ is indeed born in your heart and is your Lord and Savior.

Celebrate His birth like the Shepherds did: spread the Good News, glorifying and praising God, for Christ the Savior is born!

 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” JOHN 3:16

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

Photo Credit

Angels Announcing the Birth of Christ to the Shepherds (Wikipedia)