Tag Archive: people


by DJ Martin (SingleFocus Ministry®)

THREE CROSS HILL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

Fireworks by D.J. Martin

Fireworks by D.J. Martin

Too fast, too slow

Too short, too tall

Too big, too small

Too fat, too thin

That’s how it’s been!

Too good, too bad

Too happy, too sad

Too bold, too timid

Too strong, too weak

That’s what man thinks of me!

Now, I’m too over that!

Since Jesus is my Lord

I’m too glad to be bound

By what people think of me

Too independent to be conformed

I’m an independent woman since Jesus set me free!

Too loved, too blessed

Too loosed to lose

Too changed, too reborn

Since Jesus set me free

To think what ‘He’ thinks of me

Too forgiven to fear

No longer conformed,

Now transformed

I’m an independent woman since Jesus set me free!

Free to sing

Free to dance to heaven’s ring,

Jesus love song to me

I’m an independent woman since Jesus set me free!

Too happy, too free

Not bound by what man thinks of me

Too grateful, too saved

To be dependent on what others say of me.

Free to believe what Jesus thinks of me

Too overwhelmed by God’s unwavering love for me

Too free to be bound by shackles of conformity

To the image of what people think I should be

I’m His independent woman, gloriously free

To believe what Jesus thinks of me!

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t stop praying.

Pray without ceasing… 1Thessalonians 5:17

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

D.J. Martin  (SingleFocus Ministry®)

One spring, I took the opportunity to spend my vacation in Israel. While there, I boarded a boat on a pleasant sunshiny day with a group of people. We wanted to get to the other side of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea was blue and calm as we started to cross over. The day was clear so that I could see the other side. When we entered the middle of the sea, the wind began to blow. At first, it was a gentle breeze then it became more intense. The boat was rocking so much that I was sure a storm was coming soon. I began wondering if we would have to walk on water, and hoping and praying that we would reach the other side before the storm hit.

stormy seaThankfully, we made it to the other side before the storm came. There were palm trees whose leaves rustled in a gentle breeze as we approached the shore. We passed the trees into a city where the sunshiny sky was clear, blue and calm. There were no signs of an approaching storm. In fact, I don’t remember rain at any time during my stay in Israel.

Thus, this is similar to the life of the saints of God. God gives directions, and we follow them, only to occasionally be in the midst of a brewing storm: family and friends not acting right, relationships fizzling, money is funny, coworkers acting insane, the car is falling apart, or the body is aching, etc.

It looks like smooth sailing as doors open with little effort on our part. Until all these things and more begin shaking and rocking our boat. The storm seems to get so bad that if we weren’t saints, not only would we be angry, we would sin. But instead, we pray and cry, cry and pray. The fierce storm makes you wonder if God called you and if you heard right.

Unfortunately, sometimes it makes us stop forging ahead. We get caught up in trying to fix the boat and calming the sea ourselves: working overtime to get the money right, take vacation days to fly across the country to mend relationships, whatever.

Summer used to be the most frightening season for me because rainstorms could be very violent in Texas. Since my new birth in Christ, I wake up, hear the storm, and whisper “Peace. Be still,” then go back to sleep. Oh, to be able to do that with life’s storms. I found out that when I am in the middle of a storm, there is calm on the other side if I trust in God. I remind myself that I know He loves me and has forgiven me.

Storms also shape character and spiritually prepare you for victory in the task He has for you. Spend more time with God, so that He can encourage you when in the storm. He will open doors. And remember that it’s all about His glory. Focus on Him and His calling. Pray and press on. Put all affairs in the Master’s hands, and do what He has called you to do because only Christ can calm the storm.

Believe me, if a storm is brewing and you are in God’s will, a blessing is on the other side.

Be of good cheer. Christ can give you peace in the midst of a stormy sea. Ask Him for it. Christ can calm the storm.

 

“…He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, “Peace, be still.” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm” Mark 4:39

 

That’s Today’s Single Focus

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED