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God Calling“Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the LORD, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.” (Isa 55:6-7)



Most of us older folk will well remember Rex Allen. He was known as the Arizona Cowboy. Rex became a movie star and a singer. He began quite young, playing the guitar with his fiddle playing father.

Rex typified the ‘cleaner’ old days. Rex Allen, was one of the singing cowboys along with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry, who personified the clean-cut, God-fearing, American hero of the wild west.

Of course those days are long gone. The world we live in today is growing steadily darker. (I’ll come back to Rex Allen a bit later.)

Should we be surprised that the world is growing darker? Not really. The Bible plainly lays out that the closer we get to the coming of the Lord Jesus, the more upheavals will be seen on planet earth. These upheavals will affect all strata of earthly meanings, from that of nature itself to all of human existence.

I believe we have already entered into what the Lord Jesus, spoke of as …


The Beginning of Birth Pangs

Women are well acquainted with the issue of birth pangs. Once they begin there is no stopping. They steadily begin and then become more rapid and with increasing strength. According to the Lord, it is these pangs that will be the strongest witness that a birth is about to take place.

Listen to the Lord:

And Jesus began to say to them, ‘See to it that no one misleads you. Many will come in My name, saying, “I am He!” and will mislead many.

“When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place; but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will also be famines.

“These things are merely the beginning of birth pangs. But be on your guard; for they will deliver you to the courts, and you will be flogged in the synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them.

“The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.” (Mar 13:5-10)

Here the Lord gives a synopsis that reaches across the age. Some of what He shares speaks directly to the earliest Jewish Christians. Some of what He shares has to do with the ending of the age of grace as we know it. (Known as the church age.)

The one thing we may question has to do with, ‘You will be flogged in the synagogues.’ We know this actually happened to the earliest Jewish believers, including the apostles. But what relevance does it have to the ending of the age?

Think about it. Who are the most hated people on planet earth? It is the Jew first with the Christians holding second place. But why are these groups so hated? It is a spiritual issue. Satan knows that his time is short. He also knows that God’s plan of redemption wraps itself around these two groups.

This is why I have often told people to keep your eyes on Jerusalem. It ends there. Satan knows that he has to control Jerusalem. As for the hatred, take note of how the nation of Israel is surrounded by multiplied millions of people who have been poisoned with a ‘Jew-hatred’ philosophical system.

Where the Bible describes the ending battles of the age, it all takes place over Jerusalem. Do not think for a moment that all the bloodshed of the middle east has no meaning.

Listen to what the Lord has to say through prophet Zechariah [I will skim portions of a longer prophecy]:

“… Thus declares the LORD who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the earth, and forms the spirit of man within him,

“Behold, I am going to make Jerusalem a cup that causes reeling to all the peoples around; and when the siege is against Jerusalem, it will also be against Judah.

“It will come about in that day that I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples; all who lift it will be severely injured. And all the nations of the earth will be gathered against it.

“In that day the LORD will defend the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the one who is feeble among them in that day will be like David, and the house of David will be like God, like the angel of the LORD before them.

“And in that day I will set about to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.” (Zec 12:1-11)

Some may wish to argue that the Lord is not talking about the second coming of Jesus, but rather the first coming. Others like to argue that this speaks of the destruction of Jerusalem, in 70 ad.

I believe neither of these premises. The Bible describes the second coming of Jesus, as being the Savior of Israel. Listen to the apostle Paul [Again in portions of a larger reading.] -

“For if their [Israel's] rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? If the first piece of dough is holy, the lump is also; and if the root is holy, the branches are too.

“For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches be grafted into their own olive tree?

“For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery–so that you will not be wise in your own estimation–that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written,



“From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers; for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” (Rom 11:15-29)

This bring us to another issue that is capturing the hearts of people, all over the planet. 


What About the Blood Moons

I really haven’t taken much of a look into what is written about the blood moons. Whether they are signs or not, I don’t know.

What I will say is that I am without question that we are in the wrap up of the age. In my opinion the birth pangs have already begun.

Perhaps my stand in all this accord with an ancient Jewish instruction that goes like this:

“If there is a sapling in your hand when one says to you: ‘Behold, the Messiah is coming!’ finish planting the sapling and then go and welcome the Messiah.”

My advice to all believers is simple – ‘Go about your business. The Lord has all of this under control. Jesus said that when we see these things happening, we are to lift up our heads. Our redemption is quite near.’

OK …


What About Rex Allen

Back to Rex Allen. I used him as an attention grabber.

On the personal side, the reason I’ve always loved Rex Allen is because of a record I had of him singing, ‘Cattle Call.’ (Recorded 1949) Would you believe I learned how to yodel, and began playing the guitar, by listening to Rex. (Probably his most famous song was titled, ‘Don’t Go Near the Indians’.)

However, there was another song that Rex Allen sang that should touch the heart of every ‘straying’ child of God. It is titled, ‘Wasted Years.’ This song was taken up by many gospel singers and groups. The reason is you can hear the voice of our Father in it.

The original song was an appeal to the straying child of God, to return to the Father. It really touches one’s heart.

Yet, a later song was written with the same title, ‘Wasted Years’. It is in this song that you hear the voice of the straying child of God, coming back to the God of his or her youth.

As a minister of old (nigh fifty years), I look at those who have strayed from their first consecration to the Lord, and it grieves me deeply. So many have mixed their lives with worldly ideals. They went astray from the holy things of God for the dregs of worldliness.

But it is never too late.

And so, take time for this later song. If you are one of the straying children, let this song be your own response to God.

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In Christ always, 


The Story Behind the Story

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Where Does a Story Really Begin?

We are about to celebrate our 38th Christian Challenge Homecoming Jubilee. What a story to be told.

When we Christian believers wish to write about our ventures of faith, how do we even find a beginning place. Our entire life has been one great adventure with the Lord Jesus. After all, the Bible says that God knew us before the foundation of the world. 

Now that I wish to share some things about a ministry known as, ‘Christian Challenge International’, I still wonder where the story of Christian Challenge actually begins. But since we are celebrating our 38th Homecoming Jubilee, perhaps it would be good to find one spot to work from.

And so I begin – Christian Challenge held its first service on March 9, 1976. But for an earlier beginning place let me reach back to 1975. 



It was during my morning devotion. As I was playing my guitar and singing the Porter Wagoner song, ‘Peace on Earth Begins Today,’ I heard these words, ‘Go home.’

When God speaks, you listen and obey. Betty and I took our children out of school and headed north. (We were living in Lafayette, LA. North was Central Louisiana.)

All I had was two words. ‘Perhaps the Lord wanted me to go to churches that I had held revivals in, and share BettyMe1978some of my testimony.’ That was not to be the case.

We left our children at my sister’s home. Across the road from her was a church that we have ministered in. But it seemed odd. The lights were on and it wasn’t a service night.

Betty and I quietly sat in the back. What I did not know was that the church had recently lost their pastor. They were in prayer, asking the Lord to send them their new pastor.

Then it happened – The minister who was helping them, recognized me and said, “Brother Martin, would you like to share anything?” (I still did not know what was happening.) I simply said, “Brother, I don’t know why the Lord sent me, but I am here.” (A near quote.)

A holy hush. Then I heard weeping in the congregation. The Lord was bearing witness to their pastor.

In looking back, I was glad the Lord only gave me two words. I had no want to pastor again. Yet little did I realize is that this was a major step to another ministry the Lord would commission me to raise up, a ministry called ‘Christian Challenge International.’

What I have found through time is that every step of faith we make, is largely to prepare us for the next step in our journey of life.

My pastorship of that beautiful country church was only for a year and a half, but that year and a half was crucial for me and my precious wife, Betty. It had to be one of the most loving churches in God’s many flocks. The older folk were like grandfathers and grandmothers to us.

I spend countless hours, pouring myself into God’s Word. The Lord was opening my eyes to so many treasures in His sacred writ. All this had to do with the Lord preparing my heart for another venture of faith. But here I must add another story behind the story.

So, let me reach further back still. It took place several years before this time.



When the Lord, brought me into His kingdom, in 1964, He did something that set the musical note for my walk with Him. He gave me an intense love for His Word. (Some people search the Scriptures to confirm what they want to believe. Not so with me. I search to Scriptures to see what the Lord wants me to believe.)

I don’t need to skip around to find something interesting to read. That old book is filled with wonderful secrets. I know exactly what Jeremiah felt when he said, “Your words were found and I ate them, and Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.” (Jer15:16)

Actually, Betty finally asked me to stop giving my Bibles away. Because of all the notes that are written in them, she wanted me to save them for our kids. (Sometimes wish I had kept them all – Alas, I felt a need to help someone along the trail of life. Bible and MusicBut I do have several saved.)

So why do I use the term ‘musical note’ in describing my Biblical walk with the Lord? The primary reason is that God has taught me to how to recognize His voice in the Scriptures, and it is like music in my soul. (Yes, the Bible is full of music.)

But there is something else equally important with regard to God’s old Book. (Besides the music.) The Bible is always unfolding its secrets. The unfolding of God’s Word is for all His children. David said, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” (Psa119:130)

Well – If I have peaked your interest just a little, then do this. You can pray this prayer now -

“Lord God, please open my eyes to see wonderful things in Your Book. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son.” (Psa119:18; Mat7:7)

See what I mean. You begin with the now, and you keep reaching back. Where do you even find a stopping place?

Well — If you are truly interested, let me let me share more light on the story behind the story.


Things That Add to the Story

Perhaps you would like to know a bit more about the Martin family. This video has to do with my and Betty’s 50th wedding anniversary. It reaches far back in time.


Then there is the number one entry on my blog. It has to do with ‘My Story’. I never mean this story to dishonor my church background. All I can say is that every believer’s walk is intensely personal. We each can only walk in what the Lord has called us to walk in.

My Story:


Then there is this, especially for country music lovers.

When the Lord spoke to me these words, ‘Go home,’ I was singing a song by Porter Wagonor, titled, ‘Peace on Earth Begins Today.’ Perhaps the Lord will speak to your heart.

Here it is:

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See what I mean.

There is no stopping place. The more I reach back in my life, the more I see the hand of the Lord.

Just one more tidbit – This happened before I entered into a knowing relationship with Jesus Christ.

When I left my last ship in the Navy, I said this to my fellow crewmen: ‘I am sick and tired of this life. I am going to find me a good woman, and settle down.’ 

Was God in that? No one can convince me otherwise. In looking back it was as though the Lord gave me words to speak over myself. Did it happen?

There would have been no Christian Challenge International, had not the Lord given me my wife of His own choosing. My wife is the most loving and caring person I have ever known. And I’m so glad that our three children have so much of Betty in them. 

How easily I could have shared the bigger story of my ‘God-ordained’ marriage to a beautiful Christian girl, and how this was also arranged in time. But, you have your own story.

So – Has not your walk with the Lord been truly an amazing venture of faith.

In Christ Jesus always,



It Was Never About Hate – It Is About Heritage

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Black Confederate Soldier


“Nothing fills me with deeper sadness than to see a Southern man apologizing for the defense we made of our inheritance. Our cause was so just, so sacred, that had I known all that has come to pass, had I known what was to be inflicted upon me, all that my country was to suffer, all that our posterity was to endure, I would do it all over again.”  — President Jeff Davis, C.S.A.



As for the Civil War, I don’t know of a Southern person today who would argue that slavery was ever right. It is certainly not my purpose in this entry to justify slavery in any case. I merely wish to speak just a bit about our Southern heritage.

However, it is important to understand that the civil war was not simply about slavery. The primary issue was a states rights of succession. The right of succession was placed into the American constitution. 

And, believe it or not, the civil war also had to do with heritage and culture. 

This is one reason that so many blacks and whites in the South today, resent the pictures that are being portrayed of our Southern culture. These sordid portrayals are made by people who do not understand the love that Southerners have for their culture. There are no racial lines when it comes to being Southern. 

Actually people from the north do not yet understand why the South is so distinctively different from every other Black Confederate Soldier3part of the nation. Yet Northerners by the droves are moving to the south, and it has nothing to do with the weather.

Something is drawing them. What is it?

Could it be because Southern women are prettier? (Don’t go there – I’m just kidding.)

Did you know:

(1) The first state to choose a black governor was Virginia, that is Doug Wilder in 1989.

(2) According to census, hundreds of thousands of blacks are leaving the North and coming South. Many are returning home and to a culture that they love and appreciate.

(3) Race relations in the south have always been better than those relationships in the north. Take note of where almost all the riots are seen. This should tell us who is really having a race problem.

Let me bring it a little closer to my home state of Louisiana.

Did you know:

(1) The word “Dixie” comes from currency issued by banks in Louisiana. The ten-dollar note was labeled “Dix,” French for the number ten. The notes came to be known as “Dixies” by the English speakers, and the area around the French parts of Louisiana came to be known as “Dixieland.”

(2) In my hometown, Pineville, Louisiana, we have a black mayor, and yet our population is predominately white. Across the river is Alexandria, Louisiana, with a white mayor, yet their population is predominately black. Does that suggest anything?

(3) Louisiana is also very unique in that we are pretty much the blending pot of the south. We are red, black, white, creole, Cajun, Spanish, German, red bone, and anything else you can throw into the mix, and we are downright proud of it.

What does that tell you about Southern race relations?

But why…


Why is the South so Distinctively Different

I would suggest that a primary reason the South is so distinctively different is because we are essentially a Bible loving people. Let no one fool you, there is a genuine Bible belt in the United States. That Bible belt is made up primarily of the old South.

The South is almost a nation within a nation. Bible Belt

How does being in the Bible belt affect the southern culture?

When it comes to respect for your elders, to general friendliness, to caring for your neighbor, to a love for family and tradition, to church attendance, we are all cut from the same clothe.

And by the way, who ever heard of Northern gospel music?

By the way, did you know that Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wrote, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, had never been to the South and had never even seen a plantation and how they were run. 

There is one Scripture that sets the stage for why the South is so distinct in our Christian heritage. Yes, it does come back to the Bible belt.

Listen carefully:

“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. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants, heirs according to promise.” (Gal 3:27-29)

There is so much I would like to share about our southern heritage, but perhaps I should let some of our black brothers tell the story from their own view of the south. They can do it better than I can.

This first video clip is of a former NAACP president of Asheville, NC  –

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The next video is, “Behind the Dixie Stars”

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In Christ always,



The Bible – Touching the Glory

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Jesus the Glory of God“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.” (Heb 4:12-13)


It is amazing how a quality decision about God’s Word can absolutely revolutionize a person’s life. What many people do not realize is that the ‘Word of God’ is a Person. And it is through the sacred Scriptures that we come to know Jesus Christ, the living Word of God.

The one thing Satan must do to disrupt a Christian’s life is to cast doubt on God’s Word. This is ‘bottom-line’ spiritual warfare. Satan begins by putting a twist on God’s Word. His goal is to undermine the truth of God.

Satan does this by twisting and turning, by adding to and by taking away, by distorting and by making crooked the straight ways of the Lord.

This is why it is so important to understand the place that the Bible has in our lives.

The Bible is a living book. It is the only book on this planet that can prove it is from God. It is the only book that records history before it happens. It is the only book that sets forth thousands of prophecies and allows man to see those prophecies fulfilled. It names nations that will rise and fall. It proves its origin in the millions of lives that are radically changed.

What I mean by the Bible being a living book, is that you will literally find God speaking to you from the pages of the Bible. According to the apostle Paul, it is through the Scriptures that we touch the glory of God.

This is why I am making a push for believers, or anyone else for that purpose, to take a fresh look at the Bible. With this in mind I wanted to share some information about Bible translations.



My advice is simple – The best Bible translation will always be the one you will read. (Excluding cult-sectarian bibles.)

The translation we use at Christian Challenge for all our courses and pulpit ministry is the New American Standard Bible. The reason is that the NASB is often seen as one of the most literal translations available today.

However, a point must be made. Word-for-word isn’t always the easiest to read. Some people are more comfortable with a translation that has a different flow in English. An example of this is the New Living Bible.

Yet, we should not confuse ‘literal’ with ‘letterism.’ There is a reason the NASB is so popular with conservative believers, and many conservative Christian organizations? The NASB seeks to keep the idioms of the original languages, whether they are natural in English.

And I love that. It presses me to reach deeper into my studies. And study in the original languages is what makes the Bible come even more alive.

Keep in mind what Paul said about the letter versus the Spirit. He said that the letter can kill whereas the Spirit gives life. The short side is that the more letter you know [Hebrew or Greek], without the benefit of spiritual understanding, the deader you will become.

With regard to literal translations, here are quotes from Charles Spurgeon:

“There are some passages in the present translation that are so dark, that no man can understand them without an explanation.” (Speaking of the King James.)

“Let us quote the words as they stand in the best possible translation, and it will be better still if we know the original, and can tell if our version fails to give the sense.”

“I do not say that either of our English versions is inspired, for there are mistakes in the translation; but if we could get at the original text, just as it was first written, I am not afraid to say that every jot or tittle—every cross of a t or every dot of an i—was infallibly inspired by God the Holy Ghost.”

OK – Enough on that. Here is a chart that will help you see the range of the more acceptable Bible translations.

Bible Translations








Hope this has been an encouragement to you.

While you think on these things, take time for this song and this message. The song is titled, ‘By His Word.’ You will hear the message in English and in also in the Tamil. (The messenger is Tharmapandian P)

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In Christ always, 



Accounting – Top Five Blog Entries

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It is time for an update on my blog. Of over 700 personal entries that are accessible on my blog, I wanted to narrow down the top five entries that have received the most readership.

As for blog statistics, to date I’ve had 144,985 reads with total visitors of 116,675. While this isn’t a great number, I remain thankful that the Lord has given me another outlet for sharing the gospel story.

Here is a map that shows where my blog has been or is being read -

Blog readership


Entries that Have Received the Most Readers

Here is a list of the top five entries. This simply show where the greatest interest has been. I’ll begin with the most read and work it from there.


1. “My Story” continues at the top of the list – For some reason this entry has far exceeded anything that I have written. It includes some of my personal background and my own life-journey of faith. It is not intended to be offensive against my church background, but rather to explains some issues that are hard to understand.

2. “Passing Through the Valley of Baca” has high readership. This study reaches back to 2010, and continues to be one of the most read. It deals with the struggles we have in life and how that the Lord can always be found in the background of our situations, in helping us process through our tears and our victories. It begins with Betty and I, at the grave of our child.

3. “500+” is next. This includes both the archives and a great many other studies. There are well over 700 studies that can be found at this site. Look at the titles. They pretty much tell you what the study is about.

4. “Mercy Triumphs Over Judgement.” This study reaches back to 2009. This entry takes its lead from the two hurricanes that hit Louisiana, and how the Lord brought to my attention the difference between the sinner-sinner, and the religious sinner. There is a saying that will appear quite strange to many. It goes like this – “The sinner knows the Lord. The priest is trying to find Him.”

5. “Jesus, the Wonder and Mystery of the Bible.” This study reaches back to 2009, and takes in the Old Testament, Hebrew background that shows who Jesus really is. It remains one of the most popular and helps to explain what the prophet meant when he wrote, “His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.”

Hope you take time for these studies. Perhaps the Lord has something to share with you.

In Christ always,


Seahawks – All American Team

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“God’s given me this amazing talent to throw the football. Even though I’m 5-foot-11 and people said I couldn’t do it, nobody can stop what God has for you.”  Russell Wilson


It is not a matter of extolling the Seahawks simply because they have a number of believers on their team. Every football team in America, has true Jesus followers. Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos is a great example. Drew Brees, quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, is another. There are many, many more.

However, I wanted to share how the Seahawks set forth the best of America.  

First, it struck me how strongly the Seahawks correlated as a team. It seemed as if every play had been choreographed. [Choreography is the art of designing sequences of movements in which motion, form, or both are specified.]

I realize that all teams do this. Yet, as I watched the Super Bowl yesterday, I was amazed at the coordination and speed of the Seahawks. I had also seen this before, when they defeated the Saints, twice. (To my dismay.)

The truth be known, I’ve been neither a Seahawk’s fan or a Bronco’s fan. To me both teams are amazing. But as I watched the Super Bowl, it said something to me about the great country that we live in. Every time our national anthem is sung, or another of America’s glorious songs, it brings tears to my eyes.

In fact all of our sports events extol the ‘God-given’ uniqueness of our country. 

There has never been a nation on this planet like America. Our uniqueness reaches into the core of who we are as a people, into the fabric of our very being.

Yes, we’ve had our struggles and our failures, yet when the right moment comes, this nation has always been able to pull together in much the same way that the Seahawks played their game. 

Certainly it comes back to our basic spiritual values as a nation. Think about our pledge of allegience -

I pledge Allegiance to the flag
of the United States of America
and to the Republic for which it stands,
one nation under God, indivisible,
with Liberty and Justice for all.

Our nation was founded on a principle of a unity that can only have one source. We credit that source as the almighty God Himself.

Not only in our pledge of allegiance, but it is set forth in America’s ‘Declaration of Independance’.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. 

Another thing that touched my heart about the Seahawks, had to do with interviews that had been conducted by Mark Driscoll, with several Seahawk believers before the Super Bowl game. What a blessing to see these men shared their Christian faith in a forum that could be seen by multitudes of people through the earth.

With that in mind, I wanted my readers to see a couple of videos where Seahawk believers are saying, ‘Whether we win or lose the Super Bowl, Jesus is first.’

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Hope you enjoyed this.

In Christ always,


What About the Animals

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Lion and Lamb“But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

“Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist.

“And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.

“Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox.

“The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Isa 11:4-9)



Is it just me? Am I imagining things? It seems like there is a nature change slowly taking place in the animal world. 

Well, perhaps I am out into left field. Simply humor me in this reading.

To begin with, take time to contemplate the Scriptures at the beginning of this entry. They belong to the second coming of Jesus, and especially to what is commonly noted as the millennium. (The 1000 year reign on Christ Jesus on the earth.)

Notice very carefully how Isaiah, sets forth a nature change that will affect the animals in general. It would be wrong to think of these Scriptures as merely Hebrew exaggeration. Even with Biblical symbolism there is always a literal meaning in the background. 

Let’s begin with …


Why Biblical Prophecy is So Important

I have been a minister of the gospel for close to fifty years. My forte of study has long been both the Hebraic and the prophetic background of the Christian faith. I am well acquainted with prophecies that set forth the age and the generation that will see the second coming of Jesus Christ. It is not a matter of setting dates. However, there is no question in my mind that we are of the generation that will see the second coming.

With regard to the prophetic Word, the Lord explained to the apostles, the intent of the Scriptures.

“These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

“Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures … “ (Luk 24:44-48)

Did you see it? All prophecy must be fulfilled in their time.  

This brings me to these special prophecies in Isaiah that have to do with …


The Witness of Creation

There are a number of things the Lord said we are to look for with regard to His second coming. The one I am drawing attention that has to do with the ‘all of creation’.  

The apostle Paul said -

“For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.” (Rom 8:19-21)

The term ‘creation’ is the Greek word ‘ktis’-is’. The apostle Paul is setting forth that the whole of the unredeemed creation, that is, rational and irrational will undergo a nature change at the second coming of the Lord Jesus.

Here is Vine’s Word Study definition of the word ‘creation.’ [The bold underline is for emphasis.]

The word [ktis'-is] may signify either the creative act (as Rom_1:20), or the thing created (Mar_10:6; Mar_13:19; Mar_16:15; Col_1:23; Heb_4:13). See on 1Pe_2:13. Here in the latter sense. The interpretations vary: 1. The whole unredeemed creation, rational and irrational. 2. All creation, except humanity. The point of difference is the inclusion or exclusion of humanity. The second explanation is preferable, the non-rational creation viewed collectively, animate and inanimate. Equivalent to all nature.

All of creation is waiting for the unveiling of the sons [children] of God. In this present age, the glory of God’s children is shrouded in bodies of flesh. Our full glory is yet to come.

Take note of these references [bold is for special emphasis] -

“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is.” (1Jn 3:1-2)

“Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, so that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col 1:25-27)

“But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, ‘I WILL PROCLAIM YOUR NAME TO MY BRETHREN, IN THE MIDST OF THE CONGREGATION I WILL SING YOUR PRAISE.’” (Heb 2:9-12 Caps represents quotes from the Old Testament.)

There is more with regard to all of creation.

The Psalmist said …


Let Everything That Has Breath

I realize that much of this is far beyond our greatest imaginations. But did not the apostle speak of God’s doings that are far beyond all that we can ask or even think. 

So, stay with me as we look at more Scriptures. [Note carefully the statements in bold. Let your heart think on these things]

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD!” (Psa 150:6)

“The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works. All Your works shall give thanks to You, O LORD, and Your godly ones shall bless You.” (Psa 145:9-10)

Praise the LORD from the earth, sea monsters and all deeps; fire and hail, snow and clouds; stormy wind, fulfilling His word; mountains and all hills; fruit trees and all cedars; beasts and all cattle; creeping things and winged fowl; kings of the earth and all peoples; princes and all judges of the earth; both young men and virgins; old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for His name alone is exalted; His glory is above earth and heaven.” (Psa 148:7-13)

“Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. The beasts of the field will glorify Me, the jackals and the ostriches, because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, to give drink to My chosen people. The people whom I formed for Myself will declare My praise.” (Isa 43:19-21)

“And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, ‘To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.’” (Rev 5:13)

Are you still with me?

Good. Now lets go to the main question of …


What Are We Observing With the Animals

I want to take note of a couple of things. First of all, there seems to have always been certain animals that have shared an affinity with humankind. We know that dogs have long carried the tag, ‘man’s best friend’.

Why is this? Could it be that of God’s many creatures, He made the dog to fulfill so many special companion needs of the human heart. For the sake of humor, perhaps this video tells us much of what we dog-lovers understand. It is titled, ‘So God Made a Dog.

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But this isn’t simply about dogs. Have you noticed that there are other animals that share an affinity with human kind?  How about dolphins that have saved humans from the sharks.

Just do a YouTube search on ‘Animals that protect humans’, or, ‘Animals adopting each other’, or, ‘Animal odd couples’.

My point is simple – I’ve been seeing more and more stories where animals that are normally aggressor and prey, have become in separable, which is contrary to their very nature. Examples are a leopard adopting a baby baboon, and a lioness adopting a baby antelope.

But there is one thing that always stands out to me. It has to do with the maternal instinct that is shared in the animal kingdom. This is one thing that is shared with the human family. 

Here is another video you will enjoy. After you view this video, note the ending screen where you can click on a number of other videos that relate to the nature changes in the animal kingdom. 

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One question remains …


Has It Always Been this Way

I realize that the animal kingdom is not completed changed. And perhaps the animal kingdom has always been this way, but I have a different thought.

Could it be that we are seeing a witness taking shape in the animal king that precedes the coming King?

As for me, yes, I believe the King is soon to come. My prayer is the last recorded prayer in the book of Revelation. -

“He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev 22:20)

Here is a final video. Take time to listen to, ‘The King is Coming’ by Tony Hebson.

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In Christ Always,


Music Tells the Tale

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Music“The LORD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation. The sound of joyful shouting and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right hand of the LORD does valiantly.” (Psa 118:14-15)



The sacred text reveals that God has a purpose for music. Music was created to be a spiritual conduit for man’s well-being. In this sense, music carries in it something of spiritual nature.

This is why music can be so uplifting. Godly music has healing power in it. The reason is that Godly music carries  with it the very presence of God.  

Music gives shape to the world we live in. Let’s consider some Biblical examples of …


The Power of Godly Music

Here are three examples of the power of Godly music.

The first example is where King Saul, recognizes the spiritual power in David’s music.

“Then David came to Saul and attended him; and Saul loved him greatly, and he became his armor bearer.

“Saul sent to Jesse, saying, ‘Let David now stand before me, for he has found favor in my sight.’

“So it came about whenever the evil spirit from God came to Saul, David would take the harp and play it with his hand; and Saul would be refreshed and be well, and the evil spirit would depart from him. (1Sa 16:21-23)

Next is when the Lord instructs the armies of Israel, that when entering into battle, though greatly outnumbered, to begin singing to the Lord.

“They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said,

“‘Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.’

“When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.’

“When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. (2Ch 20:20-22)

 The apostles of our faith also knew the power of the song. We see this with Paul and Silas, when in prison.

“When they had struck them with many blows, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to guard them securely; and he, having received such a command, threw them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. (Act 16:23-26)

 You can …


Sing Your Way to Victory

I’m not going to tell you that singing is a cure-all for everything, but it is the key to many things. Worshiping in song will often be the deliverance key to victory in your circumstances, often even the healing of our body.

Shana, was running a high fever. I said to her, “Let’s sing to the Lord.” When we began to sing, the fever actually broke. Our daughter, Shana was released into the wellness of God.

A former warlock priest who had come to the Lord, told me that the hardest times for warlocks and witches to practice their craft, was when the churches were in services. This generally meant Sundays and Wednesdays. He contributed it to the worship and ministry times of God’s people. The presence of God forced back the powers of darkness. 

Did you know that God placed in the Bible a song book to aid the believer’s walk of victory. That is what the book of Psalms is about. Psalms is the only book in the Bible, that is specifically given a direct connection to living in, with, and by the Spirit.

Listen to the apostle Paul - [The man who sang his way out of prison.] 

“So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation …

” … but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.” (Eph 5:17-20)

I have often taught the band of believers who meet at Christian Challenge, the benefits given to us in the book of Psalms. Psalms is a prophetic book, a book fill with the spiritual principles of victorious living.

Here is my story (I’ve shared it before) ….

About the Book of Psalms

It happened in 1976. The ministry was just starting up. We had no congregation, and no source of income. The house we rented was for $75.00 a month. It was a bit drafty. In fact when it rained, the roof leaked in one of the bed rooms.

All I had from the Lord was a stewardship to raise up a ministry in Central Louisiana, on the basis of the ‘school of prophets’ of the Old Testament. This meant that Christian Challenge was to be a disciple-making ministry that would utilize ‘mentoring’ as its major foundation principle.

Oddly enough, the Lord would not even allow us to pass offering places. He was teaching me something about a life of faith. How were we going to do this?

This is what happened. I’m lying in bed when the ‘how‘, ‘what‘, ‘where‘, and ‘who‘ worries began. ‘How will I take care of my family?’ ‘How will we survive?’ ‘Lord, what am I doing here?’ ‘Where will we turn?’ ‘Who will I turn to?’

Then I had this impression in my spirit that the Lord wanted to talk to me. I got up from the bed, grabbed my Bible, went into the kitchen, placed the Bible on the table, and closed my eyes in prayer. (I’m relating this as best I can recall what happened. But this kind of memory is a life-time thing.)

When I reached for my Bible, it fell open to the book of Psalms. That is when I begin to receive my spiritual enlightenment from the Lord. Wish I knew how to relate this properly. I’ll do my best.

What I began to hear in my heart was explanations on why the Lord had this book placed in the sacred writ.

The book of Psalm will teach us how to think, how to pray, how to worship and praise, how to believe, what to believe, how to speak. It will teach us about God’s providence, His provisions, His promises, how to live a life of the Spirit, and much more.

When I got up from the kitchen table, my whole world had changed. The worries were gone and my heart was filled with the victory of Jesus. It has pretty much been that way ever since.

To this very day when I awake each morning, there is usually a song of worship and praise going through my heart and mind. Even when I’m traveling, it seems I want to sing much of the time. It isn’t put on. My spirit has been trained.

What I’ve shared is the spiritual side of music for believers. But there is also an unchurched cultural side that I’d need to discuss. It is a total swing from the music that is born from heaven to that which is born of hell.


Music Defines the Morality of a Culture

There is no question that music speaks to the human spirit in a way that is unparalleled. Whereas those who are born of heaven have their own music, it is also true that the world defines itself by its own music. Music is a powerful cultural medium. And Satan uses it to his advantage.

It can be said whereas Godly music carries the presence of God, even so very much of worldly music also carries the spirit of the demonic. Satan is called the ruler of this world.

At any given time in history, music will define the spirit of that generation. This is why I can speak with such sadness about the spiritual digress in our present culture.

From the time of my youth in the 1940s, to this generation, I’ve observed how music has plunged deeper and deeper into a world of darkness. Much music today, and especially rap, is totally dehumanizing. It glorifies sexual deviance, drugs, cop killing, violence against women, promiscuity, and so much more.

Psychologist will tell you that there is no better recruiter for the porn industry than the rappers.

Yet many parents are totally naïve to the dangers of the music that their children listen to. One writer says that rap music is blatant Satanism. Do you wonder why your child has become so rebellious? Think about it. 

Here is an example of just one rap song by ‘Three 6 (666) Mafia’. (Forgive me for allowing things in print that I would normally not allow. Just need to tell it like it is.)

Fuckin Wit Dis Click” : 

“I’m on a cross Lucifer please cut me free (cut me free)
I’ll draw your portrait if you pull these nails out my feet (nails out my feet)
My cross turns upside down”

“No Lord could stop us now
Cause the demons reborn again”

“Follow me into the trees
Watch me rob Adam
And watch me rape Eve”

The issue is that many young people today have plunged deeply into this world of spiritual debauchery. (Indulgence in sensual pleasures; excessive or immoral activities involving sex, alcohol, food, or drugs.)

My point is simple – To be forewarned is to be forearmed. 

But there is more. It has to do with …


The Battle Plan of the Lord

It is not as if we are left without a warning with regard to these times. There are a great many Scriptures that describe the great moral breakdown before the second coming of the Lord.

Here is what the apostle Paul said -

“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers …

“… disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power [power of the cross]; Avoid such men as these.” (2Ti 3:1-5)

However, neither is it as though we have no battle plan. Listen carefully to our final ‘war plan’ instructions in the book of Psalms – God will glorify His people with the victory of Jesus Christ.

Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.

“Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the sons of Zion rejoice in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.

“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.

“Let the godly ones exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their beds.

“Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written.

This is an honor for all His godly ones. Praise the LORD!” (Psa 149:1-9)

Take God’s Word in your mouth. Shout and sing the victory of Christ. Sing the Psalms. Be encouraged. Satan is a defeated foe.

There is so much more to be noted. My advice to any believer is to take this to the Lord. Your instructions will come directly from Him.

In the meantime here is a song for your spiritual edification. Its about, ‘Not giving up.’

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In Christ always,



A Standard For the Nations

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“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!” (Isa 52:7)



For the last couple of days I been thinking about something the prophet Isaiah said about how the enemy works, and how that God works. I especially love where the King James Bible sets this forth in Isaiah 59:19.

Listen  -

“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isa 59:19)

Two things stand out in this one verse. First, the name of the Lord and His glory is to go forth to cover the earth from the very rising of the sun. Many do not realize how this very thing is taking place today. The gospel is penetrating the darkest corners of planet earth. (Of course the news media isn’t about to share this bit of news.)

One of the best examples of the spreading gospel, has to do with the multiplied thousands of Muslims who are coming to faith in the Lord Jesus.

The Jews are not far behind. Hear what this anti-Christ, Jewish rabbi has this to say -

‘Why have more Jews converted to Christianity in the last 19 years than in the last 1900 years.’ (This actually appeared in an ad in the Jerusalem Post.) 

Then we have the second part of Isaiah 59:19, that has rested on my heart of late. It is where God says, ‘When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.’

Well, the enemy is going forth about the earth in his attempt to deceive the nations. He continues to make inroads into our western societies. What a moral breakdown we are seeing. 

Yet I keep hearing in the deep of my heart, ‘The Lord shall lift up a standard against him!’ 


Standards Are Being Lifted

From a personal testimony point of view, when the Lord gave me a stewardship to raise up a ministry in Central Louisiana, to be named, ‘Christian Challenge International’, my instructions were to set up the ministry on the order of the Old Testament school of the prophets. This meant that the ministry would be a mentoring society. The older disciples would teach the younger disciples.

I also believe the Lord gave me accilogo2 logo that we could use. Briefly, the mountains represents the nations and kingdoms of the world, the circle speaks to the rising and the setting of the sun, and the dove and Bible is the gospel message being proclaimed among the nations.

But the Lord also gave me a theme song for our ministry. It is titled, ‘How Beautiful Upon the Mountains.’

The reason I share this is not to honor myself or Christian Challenge. I merely wish to speak to the standards being lifted today. Christian Challenge is only a very small part in the untold number of standards being lifted up.

The standards are being lifted up by myriads of ministries, both in missionary efforts and by radio and television, and by the multitude of testimonies of salvation that are be proclaimed to all the nations. 

For the sake of time, I want to share one special testimony that is becoming a drawing card for the kingdom of God’s beloved Son, today. It has to do with Mel Gibson’s movie, ‘The Passion of Christ.’

It is the testimony of …


The Man Who Portrayed Christ

Did you know the man who played Jesus in the Passion of the Christ, Jim Caviezel, is a truly born-again believer with an amazing story of His own passion for the Lord Jesus?

Here is the one interview that every Christian, and prayerfully, that many thousands of people around the world should take time for. I can assure you, you will not be disappointed. It has its special place in reaching the hearts of thousands, including those in the movie industry.

Take time for it. This man can speak for himself.

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In Christ always,


Lord, Give Me a Listening Ear

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Ears to HearOpen my ears, O Lord, to Hear

“The Lord GOD has given Me the tongue of disciples, that I may know how to sustain the weary one with a word. He awakens me morning by morning, he awakens my ear to listen as a disciple.” (Isa 50:4)



It is the design of God in the new covenant, that all who come to faith in Jesus, are to learn to listen for the Shepherd’s voice. This is a learning experience. The ability to hear comes with spiritual growth and with our willingness to walk in obedience to God.

Jesus said,

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.” (Joh 10:27-28)

The sad note is that those of the Jewish people who refused to accept Jesus as God’s Messiah, is that they not only lost their place as the earthly kingdom of God, but they also lost their ability to hear clearly and directly from God. Israel would become a scattered people, like sheep without a Shepherd.


The Time Was Coming

John the Baptist had given the warning -

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, ‘You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?‘ … 

“‘The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

“‘As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.’” (Mat 3:6-11)

In this context, every time John uses the term ‘fire’, he is speaking of a judgment to come. It is important to understand this. (From the time of John the Baptist to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, there would be 40 years. The 40 years had to do with that generation.)

Then in verse 12 of that same setting, John says,

“His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” (Mat 3:12)

The wheat represents the believing Jewish people. The chaff represents the Christ-rejecting people.


The Chapter Closes 

As the book of Acts closes, the time for the out-gathering of the Jews was nearing the end of its forty-year apex. Jerusalem would soon lie smoldering in flames. The temple and every trace of the Old Testament covenant of Law, would be no more. When the sacrifice of the cross is rejected, there is no other sacrifice to be had.

The apostle Paul has these last words for the Jews in Rome, as he quotes the prophet Isaiah –

“And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting word,

“The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers, saying, ‘Go to this people and say, “You will keep on hearing, but will not understand; and you will keep on seeing, but will not perceive …  

” … for the heart of this people has become dull, and with their eyes they scarcely hear, and they have closed their eyes; otherwise they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and I would heal them.

“Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.” (Act 28:25-28)

Makes you wonder how many today fit this category. Yes, there is a judgment coming. I pray that none of my readers have closed their eyes and their ears. Have you?

Let’s come back to the issue of the listening ear with regard to Christians.


Listen So that You May Live 

We begin as babes in Christ, and afterwards we continue to grow in all areas of our walk with Him. Jesus gave a gauge to set the tone for our new covenant walk with Him. It has to do with ‘seeking’. We are to seek His kingdom rule, and to seek His righteous path.

Seeking the kingdom has to do with seeking the direct rule of God over our lives. Seeking for His righteousness has to do with walking in the path that the Lord has ordained for us. David said the Lord leads us in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake.

The prophets had long spoken of the Messiah’s kingdom to come. It was this knowledge that Jesus used to cause discomfort among the Jewish religious leaders. Various ones would try to trip Him up. The Lord disarmed each of His opponents. 

It is at this juncture that the Lord asks them a question. He said,

“How is it that they say the Christ is David’s son? For David himself says in the book of Psalms, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for Your feet.”‘

“Therefore David calls Him ‘Lord,’ and how is He his son?” (Luke 20:40-44)

Jesus is quoting from Psalm 110. What caused the religious leaders concern was that the people fully accepted Psalm 110, in regard to the Messiah. They knew Messiah was to be a descendant of David. Yet in this Psalm, David actually calls the Messiah his Lord.

How can Messiah be David’s son, and yet also be David’s Lord?

David does much more. He also calls the Messiah, God’s Son. Listen -

“Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; take warning, O judges of the earth. Worship the LORD with reverence and rejoice with trembling.

“Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, for His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him!” (Psa 2:10-12)

Do you again see the judgment language. It all centers on doing homage to the Son.

This doing homage to the Son is especially seen on the Mount of Transfiguration, where Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus. The disciples are terrified. But the message is clear -

“Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, I will make three tabernacles here, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said,

‘This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!’

“When the disciples heard this, they fell face down to the ground and were terrified.” (Mat 17:4-6)

Did you catch it? Who are we to listen to? 

For the sake of repeating myself, let me say it again. The Lord did not come to give us another religion, a better religion, or a more-correct religion. He came to give us life. This life is found in the Son. Learn to listen to Him, and you will learn to walk in the life.

Now let’s talk about …


The Decree of the Cross

If you are not familiar with the decree of the cross, here it is -

“And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Act2:21; Rom10:13)

But there is more at hand. Since Jesus is talking to disciples in the sermon on the mountain, He is laying out kingdom principles. The word for kingdom is ‘besileia’. This word translates over into English as royal power, kingship, dominion, rule.

Jesus is not speaking of a kingdom that can be measured by borders. Jesus said that His kingdom was not of this world. It will be a kingdom of the heart.

What we are to seek is the royal rule of the King in our lives. This is the essence of kingdom Life.

Paul has this in mind, in saying,

“As you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him.” (Col2:6)

The apostle is telling us to live out our lives in the sphere of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Jesus said we were to seek His kingdom rule, and His ‘righteous’ plan for our lives.

The issue here is not the righteousness we are given when we are born again. Every believer is given perfect righteousness before the throne of God when they are born again. However, the issue here is ‘pathways.’ (How to live out our life.)


Seek the Pathway of the Lord

In the new covenant every person has direct access to the throne of heaven, all the time, every time, wherever and whenever. Notice that Jesus places our kingdom-righteous walk in the care of our loving Father. 

Peter elaborates on this, when he says,

“Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2Pet1:3)

Paul says much the same;

“So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, whether Paul or Apollos or the world or life or death of things present or things to come; all things belong to you, and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.” (1Co3:21,23)

Here is the point at hand -

Have you ever noticed that as a believer becomes really serious about seeking and serving the Lord, that their lot in life begins to improve. It is because the Lord sees to both to our spiritual needs and our temporal needs.

This means more than having our needs met. Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness means we have an obligation to see where we fit in the Father’s business. The most miserable Christian on earth is that one who gets caught up in seeking blessings, but does not seek his or her place of service.

We all begin our walk under the auspices of some sort of church life. This is well and good as far as it goes. Yet the very purpose of our gathering as a flock is so that we can be taught how to live under the personal Lordship of Jesus.

If the church begins to take the place of the personal Lordship of Jesus, then we have entered into the zone of religion-worship. Whether we realize this or not, we are exchanging Lordship of Jesus for our religion. (Think about it.)


The Key Will Always be Lordship

The first time I heard the Lord speak directly to my heart was in 1964. Jesus spoke to me from the Scriptures, and said, ‘Have I been so long time with you Buddy, and you do not know who I am.” 

Rather than elaborate on this, you may wish to read my personal story:

From that time on my life has been a journey of seeking and finding. Over these almost fifty years of walking with the Lord Jesus, He has often spoken to me. He has spoken by impressions of the heart, by visions and dreams, many times through others, and often by a direct word from His mouth.

In all this I was learning how to listen. Have I ever missed it? Yes, several times. But that goes with the ‘learning’.

I thought it would be good to share one of my personal stories. For lack of a better term, I’ll call it…

The Gate to Miracle Land

Having pastored our first church and afterwards entering into the evangelistic field, I was beginning to experience spiritual fatigue. I was tired. My family was tired. More than anything else, I needed a spiritual restructuring of my life. So, in 1971, I left the full time ministry for a season.

The next three years would prove to be crucial to the Lord’s plans for my future. It was during that season that the Lord baptized me into His Word. I realize how strange that sounds, but I don’t know any other way to explain it. The sacred Scriptures began to take on a life that has continued to this very day. 

Early in 1975, the time came. I was at the place where I could say, “Lord, I’ll go anywhere you want me to go. I’ll do anything you want me to do. All I ask is that You tell me Yourself what you want me to do. Don’t send someone to tell me.” 

The dye was set. In just a few short weeks the Lord offered me an invitation to walk through what I can only term, ‘the gate to miracle land.’

It happened Friday morning, January 19, 1975. That morning I was playing my guitar and singing to the Lord. I even remember the song. It was about the Battle of Armageddon.

That is when it happened. While I was singing and worshipping, I heard the Lord say, ‘Go home!’ It was so real, that Betty and I took our children out of school and headed north. We were living in South Louisiana and home was Central Louisiana.

I kept trying to figure out what the Lord had in store. I began making plans to visit a number of churches that I had held revivals in. I thought perhaps the Lord wanted me to share my testimony. Was I ever wrong. That wasn’t what the Lord had in store at all.

We took our children to my sister’s home. Across the road from her house was a church I had held my first revival in. The lights were on. I found it odd since it wasn’t a church night. Cars were everywhere. I thought this must be where I am to begin.

We stepped in the door and sat quietly in the back. A service was in progress. I waited, but the Lord said nothing else. ‘What are we doing here?’ 

That is when the minister recognized me, he said, “Welcome brother and sister Martin. Brother Martin, do you have anything you would like to share.”

I absolutely did not know what to say. I simply stood, and said, “Brother, I don’t know why the Lord sent me, but I am here.”

When I spoke those first words, there was a holy hush. Then I heard weeping in the congregation. What I didn’t know was they had lost a pastor, and they had been praying for the Lord to send them ‘their’ pastor.

The Lord had given them the witness. Their pastor was standing in their midst. That was the beginning of my new venture into the world that I had only skirted around. It was the world of a disciple.

Was it easy? No. I had a business in South Louisiana. How could I refuse. Yet the struggle in my mind continued as we drove 120 miles each way, each week, to begin pastoring that country church.

But the Lord never leaves us hanging loose. While sitting on the platform with my struggles, once again I heard the Lord speak in my heart. He said, ‘I have given you the heart of a pastor.’

At that very moment something happened inside me. The struggle was over. 

I could share story after story of how the Lord has provided for us, and has continued to do so from that day. He has taught us principles of discipleship. And through that gate to miracle land would come another ministry called, Christian Challenge International, a ministry that would be entrusted with teaching believers how to live the life of a disciple. 

But as a believer, you will have many of your own stories to tell. 

Walking through that gate was the best thing that had ever happened to my wife and me. It brought us to where we are today.

And it all had to do with having my ears opened to hear from the Lord.


How About You?

Is there a gate the Lord would have you walk through?

Rather than add anything else at this point, let me simply point out that the level of our walk with the Lord can always be measured by how we respond to the principles of His kingdom. I only shared one principle. The Sermon on the Mountains is filled with instructions for the disciple.

You may want to read through the sermon again. Do it like it is a first time. Listen to the Spirit of the Lord. Just put your disciple ‘glasses’ on as you read it.

In the mean time take a listen to Eric Tom, as he sings, ‘Here I am Lord.’

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Your brother in Christ,