“The steps of a man are established by the LORD, and He delights in his way.
“When he falls, he will not be hurled headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.
“I have been young and now I am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his descendants begging bread.” (Psa 37:23-25)
While the background for this entry draws on my walk with the Lord, it is my wish that readers see their own walk with the Lord.
Every believer’s life is distinct, and is put in place by the Lord Himself. There are no big ‘I’s’ or little, ‘You’s.’ There are only callings and placements. And all placements relate to the purpose of the kingdom of God.
My calling is as a minister of the gospel. In this case I must line up with the apostle Paul, who said,
“For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.
“For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.
“What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.” (1Co 9:16-18)
I’ve preached the gospel from age 24 to almost age 74 (next month). But I’ve been aware of my call to the gospel ministry ever since early childhood.
I’ve pastored, evangelized, preached in theaters, in store fronts, off the back of trucks, in nursing homes, on the streets, in jails, in mountain villages, and city churches, In banana plantations, in brush arbor revivals, in tent revivals, in seminars, on the radio and tv, and in various states and countries —
Then came the internet. I now have over 700 Bible studies available from my on-line internet Journal.
Looks like I would eventually run out things to share – But that is not the way it works.
Studies archived here: http://buddymartin.net/blog/500-2/
Actually it goes deeper. This is where I need to make something quite clear about God’s new covenant people. It is all about the kingdom of God’s beloved Son.
Here is a brief explanation -
OK, now let’s talk just a bit about …
Seeing Through the Veil
There is a need to open our eyes – This has a lot to do with what ‘growing in faith and in maturity’ means. Listen to Paul’s prayer -
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might.” (Eph 1:18-19)
Yes, that is what David prayed.
The Psalmist desired to look more deeply into the Lord’s affairs of life. David knew that God’s heart could be found in the sacred writings. He knew that the Bible came from the mouth of God. Actually if you truly wish to hear from God, you must begin with His Word.Did David see into God’s heart? Absolutely! David saw how the Lord was so involved in his life, that even his very days had been ordained of God.
The Psalmist said it this way,
“Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psa 139:16)
The apostle Paul had this to say,
“But when God, who had set me apart even from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace, was pleased to reveal His Son in me so that I might preach Him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with flesh and blood … “ (Gal 1:15-16)
Then we have the Lord speaking to the prophet Jeremiah -
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (Jer 1:5)
Yes, indeed, the Lord saw …
Our Failures and All
I must say this up front. In spite of all the preaching that I’ve done, I’ve also had my measure of failures and struggles, sin battles, and spiritual warfare. I’m sure that I’ve done more than my share of hurting others.
And yet, even out of all my failures and struggles and sin battles, the Lord has faithfully seen to my restoration.
Did not the Psalmist say, “When he [God's people in total] falls, he will not be hurling headlong, because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.”
Then I must add this -
Does the Lord ordain our failures and struggles and sin battles? No. The Lord never leads us into sin.
However, all our failures and struggles and sin battles are figured into our account beforehand. And the account was settled long ago. The Lord saw to it all that at the cross.
The Lord took our failures and sins with Him to the cross. In turn He gave us both His victory and His standing with heaven. This applies to all believers.
Perhaps this is why God allows failures in our lives. It is His purpose for His people that we all have compassionate hearts. When we can identify with failure, then we can also identify with the victory that the Lord gives to all His children.
On the issue of ministry, do I get tired? Sure. This old body isn’t as spry as it once was. Nor do I preach as much as I use to. But the truth be known, I never tire of sharing the gospel.
Jesus is as real to me today as when I first met Him personally. Yes, salvation involves a personal meet with Jesus Christ.
All this brings me to back to a covenant that the Lord drew me into some long years ago. Yes, the Lord drew me.
Entering a New Stage
As I share at this point, there is another important thing to be said. When the Lord begins to separate one of his people for a kingdom role that He has ordained for them, this is not about being a rebel. Nor is it about how special this person is above others.
Paul said it well enough -
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:26-28)
So, what is it about? It is more about the believer taking on the heart of Jesus. It is about the furtherance of the kingdom.
Listen to Jesus:
“I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (Joh 5:30)
Did you catch it? We are not to act on our own initiative. We are to seek God’s will in all things.
And so a new stage was coming into place.
The last revival was completed. I was tired. My family was tired. It was then that I felt in my heart to lay down the full time ministry and tend to the cares of my family. So I went back into the business I was most familiar with, insurance. This was 1971.
The next three years proved to be crucial. While My love for the Lord and for His Word never abated, this time was necessary as a time of preparation for another phase of ministry. Yes, it was ordained of the Lord.
Something special was taking place. It was as though my heart was becoming one with the Lord.
I realize this may sound. But it is very Biblical. Jesus spoke of this oneness of heart -
“[Father] I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.
“The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” (Joh 17:20-23)
For three years the Lord was preparing me for another advance in kingdom work. My heart was being stirred by the Lord. Then the time came.
Renewing My Covenant With the Lord
In 1974 – It was time for my covenant with the Lord, to be awakened. Here is a heart summary of a covenant that the Lord drew me to –
“Lord, I am ready. I will go anywhere you want me to go, preach anywhere you want me to preach, do anything you want me to do. I only ask of you two things. One, don’t send someone to tell me what you want me to do. You tell me personally. Secondly, I must have my wife.”
That was my covenant. It had always been my heart covenant with the Lord, but our times are in the hands of the Lord.
And none of this was one-sided.
Yes, the steps of the God’s people are measured by the Lord, much more than we know.
And so the story goes. It is always …
Step After Step
Perhaps it is enough for me to say that after my covenant was reawakened with the Lord, very soon my next step was put in place.
That morning I was singing to the Lord, when Jesus spoke these words, ‘Go home!’
That was thirty-nine years ago. God’s ‘go home’ sent us to pastor a beautiful country church, and from that church our directions were to raise up a ministry for training disciples, known as ‘Christian Challenge International.’
There is no need for me to continue with my story. You have your own steps to walk in.
But if you would like to know a bit more about the Martin family, you can view these journal entries -
The Martins - http://buddymartin.net/blog/jubilee-cd/
My Story - http://buddymartin.net/blog/testimony/
Christian Challenge - http://www.christianchallenge.org/
In the meantime here is a song that will help you identify with what a true walk of faith is all about, and what I wanted you to hear in this entry.
In Christ always,