Tag Archive: Luke


Time to Give it a Rest!

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

giverest

How many years have passed since you have been so bitter that you served notice that your son or daughter is not welcome back into your house until they repay a debt or until they come back and help run the family business?  Has it been years since you’ve been angry with your children for leaving you to stay with your estranged spouse?  How long has it been since you vowed to disinherit them if they married someone you disapproved of and they married them anyway? Have you extended the bitterness toward your estranged grandchildren too?

Everybody that knows you is aware that you are still angry with your children, because you can’t stop talking about it. Just the very mention of their name subjects anyone within the sound of your voice to the verbal prosecution of your children’s’ offense towards you. I don’t know how long you’ve kept the fire of bitterness to your bosom, but I bet it shows up in your human and spiritual shaky relationships, suboptimal business affairs, and perplexing health issues.

You’ve worked very hard to do well in your chosen vocation or occupation. You have a home, transportation and money in your pocket. You have done very well preparing yourself to be in reasonably good financial shape. Though he is talking about agriculture and financial status, I think that Moses gives an excellent command to seriously consider for more prosperity of your health and your soul (3John 1:2).

“But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.” Exodus 23:11

This is a new day. To paraphrase Moses, “It’s time to give it a rest!” Let it go. You’ve been toting that bucket of bitterness too long (Ephesians 4:31). Put your kids back in the will or at least back in good fellowship. No doubt, they are saddened by the separation. Now is a good time to bless the poor in spirit.

Is it difficult for you? Is it hard to apologize or say, “I’m sorry”? Are you having problems forgiving them?

Let God help you to bless the poor in spirit. That’s you and that’s your children. God wants to bless you all. Therefore, I have no doubt that He is willing and able to help you reconcile. He will help you to forgive (Matthew 6:14) and He will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Just pray and ask Him to help you; if you are sincere, I guarantee that He will.

Now is a good time to turn it over to Christ and let Him heal you of bitterness.  It’s a new day; forgive (Luke 17:4) and “let it rest!”

I pray that this is the day that you lay aside bitterness and give it a rest.

“…thou shalt let it rest” Exodus 23:11

That’s Today’s Single Focus

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Reflecting on Passover and Resurrection Sunday

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Saturday Ryme

I have heard talk of tragic ‘Friday’ and I have heard shouts about triumphant ‘Sunday.’ But quiet is the voice of ‘Saturday.’

I know what went down on Friday, I know what went down on Sunday, but what is the 411 on Saturday, the day between Friday’s tragedy and Sunday’s triumphant.

Most illuminating and a little shocking; it was all so human. Surely, it is why there was no chattering.

Matthew 27 tells of Judas, the betrayer, already dead; with his own hands he died by hanging. But the Pharisees and the Priests did on Saturday visit Pilate, who sentenced Jesus to death– Friday’s tragedy. (verse 62)

Jesus’ prophesy they repeated, “After three days I will be rising. Secure the stone that covers His grave,” they were pleading. “Until the third day, give us soldiers to guard the tomb where Jesus lay, so the Disciples, His cold body they will not be taking, a resurrection hoax proclaiming.”

“Yes,” said Pilate. So, the stone was sealed; and the tomb, the soldiers on Saturday, they were watching. (verse 63)

So very natural and very human, the Disciples did (Mark 16:10) mourn the death of Jesus on Saturday and in a room, they were also hiding (John 20:19). Their leader, Jesus the Christ was dead. Surely for the Disciples they were coming.  In dismay, they saw it all happening. It was for their own lives they were fearing, like people who witnessed a tragedy, which is what the Disciples did on Saturday.

Jesus, down the road all the way to being nailed to the cross they were following, and from His lifeless body taken from the cross into the tomb, His placing. On Saturday, the women were resting. (Luke 23:56)

On the very night that He was betrayed Jesus to the Disciples repeating, He would die and after three days from the grave He would be rising. And, “After I am raised again, in Galilee, Me you shall be meeting (Matthew 26:32).” Yet, preparations to go to Galilee they were not making.

While the Priests and Pharisees preparations for the resurrection they were making; the Disciples to steal His body they were not even plotting.

After Jesus said He would die and rise again, strange talk came following. (vs 33-36)

The Disciples, on the tragedy and betrayal not the resurrection, began focusing. The Resurrection part of Jesus’ prophesy clearly, they were not hearing.

The tragedy, their weariness, and power of their enemies, the Disciples of Jesus Christ were focusing. It was the Priests and Pharisees, on the triumphant resurrection, they were focusing.

By how the resurrection on Sunday they were reacting; that He would arise from the grave, the Disciples clearly were not believing.

With anointing oils in hand, to look at an empty tomb early Sunday morning, the women were not seeking. (Mark 16:1; Matthew 28:5-6; Mark 16:3; Luke 24:5-6)

When Jesus’ rising, the women were reporting, thinking them delusional the Disciples were not believing. Though He told the women to tell them to meet Him in Galilee, to go to Galilee the Disciples clearly were not preparing. (Mark 16: 11; Luke 24:11)

When to them in the room Jesus made His appearing, a ghost the Disciples thought they were seeing. To them His nailed scarred hands and feet He was showing. And still a ghost they thought they were beholding.

When He ate fish and honeycomb, they began believing. Then, reminding them of His teaching and prophesy, the scriptures Jesus began explaining.

Shockingly, the Priests and the Pharisees were, but the Disciples for the resurrection were not preparing.

How can this be? That Thomas was not the only one doubting is most illuminating and a little shocking. It was all so human, surely its why, about Saturday, from the preachers there was no chattering.

For the weary, fearful and those that are mourning, what happened on Saturday is encouraging and from it a valuable lesson we are learning.

“O fools, and slow to believe all that the prophets have said!” To two unbelieving Disciples Jesus was responding (Luke 24:13-24). Not to Galilee, but to their home they were heading. The other Disciples, in the room, they were remaining. 

The Priest and the Pharisees believing that His rising, Jesus or His Disciples would make it’s happening. But the resurrection happening, the Disciples seem to be not believing.

What most do in dark days, the Disciples were experiencing. And when on the tragedy you are most focused, means not that you are less a Disciple, but like the Disciples back then you are growing.

How different the time of tragedy we be mourning will be on Saturday, if on the resurrection triumph we be focusing. When Jesus living, they were realizing, change in attitude they began making. Focused on tragedy of Friday, on Saturday they were mourning, but now the triumph of resurrection they are rejoicing. For change in countenance and attitude, do not stay in tragedy mourning; focus on the triumph is all I am saying.

Disciples’ Saturday teaches our focus we should be changing. Though the Pharisees and Priests disappointing acts causes mourning, or for shelter seeking we are experiencing; live preparing for and the victory anticipating.

Though resurrection Sunday, the Priests and Pharisees tried stopping; and the Disciples on Friday’s tragedy they were focusing; the resurrection– the victory, resurrection triumph was still happening! Jesus Christ, from the tomb, was still rising. Tragedy on Friday and mourning on Saturday may be along the journey, but victory in Jesus Christ, He is promising.

Throughout our entire journey, on triumph we can be focusing. Just like He said He would, He is not dead, He is alive! He arose!

In times of mourning, we can be rejoicing. Because for us, every day, the Son is arising!

“He is not here: for He is risen, as He said…” Matthew 28:7

That’s Today’s Single Focus

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D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

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

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

How many years have passed since you have been so bitter that you served notice that your son or daughter is not welcome back into your house until they repay a debt or until they come back and help run the family business?  Has it been years since you’ve been angry with your children for leaving you to stay with your estranged spouse?  Howgiverest long has it been since you vowed to disinherit them if they married someone you disapproved of and they married them anyway? Have you extended the bitterness toward your estranged grandchildren too?

Everybody that knows you is aware that you are still angry with your children, because you can’t stop talking about it. Just the very mention of their name subjects anyone within the sound of your voice to the verbal prosecution of your children’s’ offense towards you. I don’t know how long you’ve kept the fire of bitterness to your bosom, but I bet it shows up in your human and spiritual shaky relationships, suboptimal business affairs, and perplexing health issues.

This is a New Year.  As a matter of fact New Year’s Day falls on a Sunday, every seven years. You’ve worked very hard to do well in your chosen vocation or occupation. You have a home, transportation and money in your pocket. You have done very well preparing yourself to be in reasonably good financial shape in this New Year. Though he is talking about agriculture and financial status, I think that Moses gives an excellent command to seriously consider for more prosperity of your health and your soul (3John 1:2).

“But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.” Exodus 23: 11

This New Year is the seventh year. To paraphrase Moses, “It’s time to give it a rest!” Let it go. You’ve been toting that bucket of bitterness too long (Ephesians 4:31). Put your kids back in the will or at least back in good fellowship. No doubt, they are saddened by the separation. Now is a good time to bless the poor in spirit.

Is it difficult for you? Is it hard to apologize or say, “I’m sorry”? Are you having problems forgiving them?

Let God help you to bless the poor in spirit. That’s you and that’s your children. God wants to bless you all. Therefore, I have no doubt that He is willing and able to help you reconcile. He will help you to forgive (Matthew 6:14) and He will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). Just pray and ask Him to help you; if you are sincere, I guarantee that He will.

This is a good year to turn it over to Christ and let Him heal you of bitterness.  It’s the seventh year; forgive (Luke 17:4) and “let it rest.”

I pray that this is the year that you lay aside bitterness and give it a rest.

“But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest…” Exodus 23: 11

That’s Today’s Single Focus

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s Today’s Single Focus

 

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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…

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

DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

'DAWN' by D.J. Martin

‘DAWN’ by D.J. Martin

Have you noticed that no matter how darkness crowds out the light of day, dawn still comes in the morning? It looks truly dark these days. While there are mad men all over Africa and the Middle East trying to wipe out the name of Jesus Christ from the lips of the people by murderous slaughter, there are delusional leaders in the free world, thinking the people gullible, declaring war and making treaties on climate change. They are like blind men, in the dark, groping for reading glasses or artificial light.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Genesis 1:1

Thou, even Thou, art LORD alone; Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and Thou preservest them all; and the host of heaven worshippeth Thee.” Nehemiah 9:6

We are in a time where the voice of the people overwhelmingly cries out for a return of our nation to righteous God-fearing laws, while the judges hastily declare evil to be right and good to be evil. They do not hear or listen to the voice of God; it’s no wonder that they do not listen to the voice of the people. So the government tries to silence the lips that declare, “The Word of God is true and Jesus is Lord” by passing ungodly laws; declaring that babies should be killed at will and men and women should be allowed to behave even as animals don’t do, and psychologist and counselors are forbidden to try to break the chains that hold perverted minds captive.

Every generation has had challenges that causes the darkness to try to conquer the light. While the children of Abraham were in Egypt, the Pharaoh tried to quench the birth rate of the Israelite by legalizing the late-term abortion of all baby boys. Spiritually speaking, this was the devil’s attempt to squash the promise of God to Abraham. Even so, they still grew in number. Though the time was dark, Moses, the deliverer, was born (Hebrews 11:23). And when he was older, he lead his people from the darkness of oppression and slavery in Egypt to the light of freedom.

King Saul insanely tried to snap out the life of David, because he was jealous and wanted to prevent him from becoming king in his stead. Alas, Saul died at his own hands and David became king anyway (1Samuel 31:4).

Though they captured Samson and blinded his eyes so that he walked in darkness the rest of his imprisoned life and would no longer continuously defeat the Philistines; which was what he was anointed to do. Even so, Samson defeated more Philistines when blind than he ever did when he could see (Judges 16:30).

King Herod tried to prevent the coming of the Messiah by killing baby boys, but Jesus was born and lived anyway. The religious leaders tried to stop the ministry of Jesus Christ. Therefore they tried Him in an illegitimate court and unjustly convicted Him to death on a cross. It was a very dark day; the day He died. Hope faded into darkness for some, on that day. There was no light on the day He died (Mark 15:3334). Then to prevent any resemblance of His resurrection (for He said He would rise), they placed guards around His tomb, rolled a huge rock to cover the tomb where His body laid and then they sealed the tomb. But, He arose anyway! It was at dawn, in the early light of the morning (Matthew 28:1), that they found the tomb open and the stone rolled away and that Jesus, the Light of the world, was no longer dead. He had risen just as He said He would.

They intimidated the Christians and sent those who uttered the name of Jesus Christ into the darkness; hiding from the Romans for fear they would be crucified also. But there in the upper room, the Light of the Holy Spirit came and the disciples emerged from the darkness and boldly declared the name of Jesus Christ. They were thrown into the darkest of prisons, beaten, beheaded, crucified, ridiculed and exiled; all to silence the lips who called Jesus Christ, “Lord.” Even so, His name continues to be on the lips of people of every tongue and every nation.

I’m thinking that the reason every generation has their days of darkness is because, there is in every generation someone or some government or ruler, who is on the devil’s side (Ephesians 6:12), trying to hide the Light by trying to silence the lips that call the name of Jesus Christ and declare Him Lord. But I’m reminded that the light of the truth of Jesus Christ emerges despite all that darkness tries to do.

John tells us in the book of Revelation that darkness will come with great vengeance and the rulers of darkness, in the last generation, will again ferociously try to silence the lips of those that call the name of Jesus Christ. They will beat, oppress and kill their bodies. They will pass laws to oppress and silence them and chase them into darkness, hiding for fear of persecution and death. But, dawn will come and there will be a removal of darkness and the light of the Son will rule and vanquish the rulers of darkness into a pit (Revelation 21:23). The dead in Christ will rise and the Light of the world will visibly rule forever more.

Jesus put it this way, “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man [the Light] coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory (Matthew 24:29-30).”

How fascinating that God put in place a demonstration of the victorious truth of this spiritual warfare. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places (Ephesians 6:12).” No matter how dark the night on this pilgrimage, the dawn’s light of day effortlessly comes and consumes the darkness.

Truly, this generation, is witness to darkness, but praise be to God, just as surely as the dawn comes after the darkness of night, we know that the Light ‘cometh’ and conquers the darkness of this world.

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:1

  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®)

English: Fireworks on the first day of Summerf...

I hurried to try to make it, before the celebration was over, to hear a great gospel singer. However, when I got there, the singing was over and the fireworks was about to begin. So even though I missed her singing, I stayed around to enjoy the fireworks.

After finding ourselves in an untimely circumstance that appears to not work out the way we had planned, unfortunately we seem to have a habit of abruptly giving up and deciding that help is none existence or this is not the correct path. So we stop our journey and turn around to go home. Even when we are timely and there are no signs that help or the man of significance is not in front of our eyes, we end our pursuit and turn around to go home.

Sometimes it’s because we really don’t know what they look like or how they will be dressed or what stage they are on. Sometimes we aren’t in sync with their timing.

The wicked, however, will pursue their devious plans or the defeat of the righteous no matter how late they are. They most likely will say “We just missed them therefore let’s run faster.” But the religious tend to give up or even deny the existence of hope and victory or even deny the Author of hope and victory.

Just because you didn’t see Him, doesn’t mean that God wasn’t there. He’s omnipresent! We (the religious) will stay around to watch fireworks faster than we will stay around to see how God will come through. But, you won’t know if you stop your journey and turn around . If you decide not to stay around, you’ll miss the evidence of His Power and Glory performed!

Judas was one man who didn’t stick around. I don’t know if he expected Him to break chains and call down warring angels, but Judas was obviously disappointed about the defenseless state of Jesus Christ and His humility in the face of tremendous opposition. It didn’t work out the way Judas had planned. But, those who hung around and held tightly His Words to their bosoms; they saw His power and His Glory; they saw His triumphant and victory!

Whether we hang around or not, whether we decide to not believe in Him and walk away from Him, it will not change the fact that Jesus Christ was crucified for our transgressions and did rise from the grave, and is now sitting on the right hand of God the Father having all power in His Hand, making intercession for us; and soon one day, will come again to receive us to Himself and every knee will bow and every tongue (believers and non-believers) will confess, “Jesus Christ, Lord of Lords and King of Kings!”

I pray that this New Year,

  1. I will not be too quick to give up on the merciful and powerful intervention of God.
  2. I will be more diligent to take the time to actively pursue seeing His power and His glory in every situation to victory.
  3. I will vigorously pursue righteousness and seek a stronger relationship with Jesus Christ.
  4. I will chase a thousand and seek God’s kingdom agenda.

I pray that this New Year, all who I come in contact with will have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; and in our walk and our talk we will be quick to confess that Jesus Christ is real and indeed Lord of Lords and King of Kings!

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD. (KJV)” Psalm 27:14

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

Photo credits:

English: Fireworks on the first day of Summerfest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Creation of Adam ( )

In the beginning the earth was a garbage dump; void and dark (Genesis 1:2). It was chaos having no substance and no life. God said, “Let there be…;” and it was (Genesis 1:3). What astounding power! With His word darkness disappeared and light surrounded the earth. At His word waters separated into the heavens and the earth. Not only that, but at His word, the waters separated and contained themselves in the clouds in the heavens and in the crevices in the earth. God merely spoke and whatever He said, “Let there be…” came into fruition (Genesis 1). And get this; He has preserved the earth from destruction (Nehemiah 9:6). The sky has not fallen, birds still fly and flowers still bloom. The moon has not fallen; neither has the sun.  No one can compare to such power!

God said “Let there be…” and the sun and the moon still hang in the sky without wires. No man has to groom the sun or the moon; no man has to devise a plan to keep them from falling or getting too close. Man uses the power from the sun, but no man can contain the power thereof.  Man has been to the moon, but no human being has preceded its existence.  There is no power like the Word of God.

I’m talking about power!

Elijah went to the temple mount and challenged the priest of Baal.  He said, “If the LORD be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” So they took two bulls; one for them and one for Elijah; and laid them on wood, but did not put fire under them. The priests called on the name of Baal, their god, from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, hear us!” But there was no voice, nor any that answered. So they leaped upon the altar and cried loudly, and cut themselves. Into the evening of the day, they did this, but there was neither voice, nor anyone that answered, nor any fire from their god (1 Kings 18:26).

Then Elijah built an altar in the name of the LORD. He had four barrels, filled with water, poured two and three times on the bull, and on the wood. The water ran all around the altar. Then he filled a trench around it with water; and said, “LORD God, let it be known this day that you are God and that I have done all these things at Your word (1 Kings 18:36).” Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the sacrifice, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and even licked up the water that was in the trench. When all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, “The LORD, He is the God; the LORD, He is the God.” Elijah did not cut himself; neither did he have to shout as if God was hard of hearing, asleep or made of stone. He merely spoke as His servant and the power of God was manifested.

I’m talking about power!

God took Ezekiel to a valley full of dry bones and said, “…Can these bones live (Ezekiel 37:3)?” Ezekiel replied, “O Lord GOD, You know.” So God told him to speak to the bones and tell them the words God had given him to say. As Ezekiel spoke the words of God, there was a noise, then a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. Then he saw the sinews and the flesh cover the bones, but they had no life, until God told him to speak to the wind. So Ezekiel spoke to the wind the words that God had said and when the power of God had moved; before his very eyes there stood a great army where once were dead men bones (Ezekiel 37:10).

I’m talking about power!

A Roman centurion, a Gentile, sought after Christ to heal his servant. Jesus said “I will go see your servant.” But the centurion said, “I’m an officer, I just send my word and it gets done. Just send Your word (Luke 7:7-8).” Christ praised his faith and sent His word. Then they found the servant alive and well where he had been sick and dying. This man of earthly power understood and had faith in the extraordinary power of the Lord and His Word.

rembrandt_resurection_christ_1639I’m talking about power!

In the middle of the night, they took the Lord Jesus Christ from courtroom to courtroom. They paraded Him before the people, bruised and beaten beyond recognition (Isaiah 53). Then they hung Him on the cross (John 19:16-19), where He died. They placed Him in a borrowed tomb (Matthew 27:60) and the guards rolled a stone over its entrance. “At last,” thought the self-righteous Pharisees, Sadducees and Romans; “Their nuisance was defeated and would trouble them no more.” But when two women came to His burying-place, they found the stone rolled away and the tomb empty. As they were perplexed, they saw two angels who said, “Why do you seek the living among the dead (Luke 24:5)? He has risen just as He said He would!”

I’m talking about power!

Before Christ ascended into heaven upon a cloud, He was seen by over 500 people (some even sat down and ate with Him (Luke 24:43), and He reiterated the fact that; “All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18).”

He has all power in His Hands (Matthew 28:18).

I could go on and on… There really are no earthly words to adequately describe the astounding power of our God! There have been countless times, experienced and written about where if it had not been for the power of God…! One day, it won’t be long; God will command the angel to blow a trumpet. Then the dead in Christ will rise and those who remain will be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye and  (1 Corinthians 15:52) caught up in the clouds (1 Thessalonians 4:16), to meet the Lord in the air…

I’m talking about power!

Have you a personal experience that you can share of the power of God intervening in your life?

“God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God. (KJV)” Psalms 62:11

That’s Today’s Single Focus…

Photo credits:

Creation of Adam (Wikipedia)

Rembrandt_Resurection_Christ_1639 (ErgSap)