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)

 

Readers,

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,

Buddy

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)

 

Journal,

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: http://buddymartin.net/blog/testimony/

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,

Buddy

Live Life With Course Adjustments

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Stormy SeaThose who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters; They have seen the works of the LORD, and His wonders in the deep.

“For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; Their soul melted away in their misery.

“They reeled and staggered like a drunken man, and were at their wits’ end.

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and He brought them out of their distresses.

“He caused the storm to be still, so that the waves of the sea were hushed.

“Then they were glad because they were quiet, so He guided them to their desired haven.” (Psa 107:23-30)

 

Journal,

Over my desk is a picture that my oldest son gave me as a gift. It is a picture of the disciples on the stormy sea of Galilee.

After Jesus calms the sea, the disciples asked a question among themselves,

“What kind of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Mat 8:27)

Good question. More people need to ask that same question, today.

The question has been settled for me long years ago. I have met Jesus personally. I know what kind of Man He is. Over my many years, Jesus has been ever-present to guide me through the stormy seas of life. There have been quite a few. 

But I can certainly understand why the disciples became alarmed on the stormy sea of Galilee.

 

I met her in dry dock in Seattle, Washington

The USS Calvert, was the oldest troop transport in the Pacific fleet and one of the most decorated. She was undergoing some needed repairs. This was in 1962. I had spent a year and a half in the Philippines, and now I was to serve as one of Calvert’s radiomen.

What an initiation! On our voyage down the coast to San Diego we met a fierce gale off of Oregon.Calvert1 I watched her bow disappeared beneath the waves and then rise up again. The old ship would shudder. It was electrifying.

But for the USS. Calvert it was business as usual. The old ship had seen greater storms than this one. She just kept right on course.

I will never forget my year and a half as a radioman on board the USS Calvert. We carried troops throughout the far east, always ready to make assault landings.

Anyway, many years later, the Lord gave me a dream about a ship. In the dream the Lord directed me to take the ship out from the coastal area and launch into the deep waters.

When I awoke, I understood my instructions. We were to move Christian Challenge away from the shallow emotional driven teachings that were making rounds in certain movements at that time, and launch out into the deep of God’s faithfulness.

 

Troublesome Teachings

It had been troubling me for some time how so many of the modern-day, teachings appealed strongly to man’s natural inclinations, yet seemed to have little regard for a true Christ-honoring walk with the Lord. It was rare to hear any teachings on repentance or on the second coming of Jesus Christ.

I will never forgot how a minister visiting our services, felt a need to caution me about preaching on the second coming of Jesus, that I was really out-of-step with today’s message. It didn’t take long to make clear my position on what he had to say.

My point – Where are the teachings on godly living, on having a sanctified heart, on having a heavenward focus and not an earthly focus?

No indeed, I am not against prosperity, but Biblical prosperity does not have its emphasis on dollars. It has to do with having a proper heart-relationship with the kingdom of God.

Jesus said it this way -

“But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!

“Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Mat 6:30-34)

Some people don’t catch the essence of what Jesus is saying. To seek ‘His kingdom’, means to seek God’s direct rule over your life, and not to seek to rule your own life. To seek ‘His righteousness’ means to seek His way of living.

David said it well enough – ‘He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.’

Over time I began to really appreciate what the apostle Paul meant, when he said,

” … we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ.” (Eph 4:14-15)

Oh yes, we had to deal with some ridicule in the background, but it was my responsibility to live in obedience to the Lord.   

 

Making Course Adjustments isn’t easy 

Would you believe that making a change in course is a major part of every believer’s walk with the Lord. Even the apostles had to learn to separate misguided teachings from the truth of the new covenant. And believe me, it is very easy to get caught in unhealthy, misguided teachings. 

Being under bad teachings does not mean a person isn’t saved. But when the light comes it is time for a course adjustment.

Is it easy to make a course adjustment? Not really. Sometimes these course adjustments will cause a separation from those that we hold dear.

It is interesting how so many years earlier, the Lord gave me the very same instructions that He gave to Jeremiah.

” … Before Me you will stand; and if you extract the precious from the worthless, you will become My spokesman.

“They for their part may turn to you, but as for you, you must not turn to them. Then I will make you to this people a fortified wall of bronze; and though they fight against you, they will not prevail over you; for I am with you to save you and deliver you,’ declares the LORD. ‘So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, and I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.’” (Jer 15:19-21 NASB)

 

Are the Winds Blowing for You

Yes, the winds are still blowing strong. This is why I caution believers not to be taken in by movements that declare, ‘Come be with us. Lo Christ is here.‘ 

Don’t think it strange. The winds of false teachings and false movements have blown across the church from its infancy. They seem to be growing stronger all the while. Do you feel like you are being battered about by strange winds?

Perhaps your ship needs to make a course adjustment. Maybe its your turn and your time to find the calm peaceful waters that belong to the covenant of God’s dear Son. The Lord wants to bring you into the safe harbor of His love.

Guess I need to find a stopping place. I would dearly love to hear from any of my readers who feel the Lord has spoken to them through this journal entry.

(You can write me personally – Buddy@ChristianChallenge.Org. – I am also on Facebook. You can message me there. https://www.facebook.com/BuddyMartin.)

Please take time to listen to ‘New Destiny Quartet’, as they sing, ‘Master of the Wind.’ The Lord would like to speak to your heart. 

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Your friend and brother in Christ,

In Christ Always, Buddy

How a Thief Made It to Heaven

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Heaven3“I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago–whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows–such a man was caught up to the third heaven.

“And I know how such a man–whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows– was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” (2Co 12:2-4)

 

Journal,

The Corinthian Church was struggling over the effect of false apostles who were making inroads into their group. These false apostles were arrogant and boastful in their claims of being apostles, while at the same time attempting to convince the Corinthians that Paul of not a true apostle.

It was in the face of these accusations that Paul felt it necessary to remind the Corinthians of his having laid the foundation for the Corinthian Church, of his apostolic journeys and trials and sufferings, and how these false apostles were perverting the gospel message.

Jude, the brother of Jesus, gives an ample description of the false apostles and false teachers:

“These are the men who are hidden reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you without fear, caring for themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn trees without fruit, doubly dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam; wandering stars, for whom the black darkness has false apostlesbeen reserved forever.” (Jud 1:12-13)

In dealing with these destroyers of the faith, it is also here that the apostle Paul is very careful not to overemphasize the fact of his having been caught up to the third heaven. 

However, what makes this so fascinating is that the apostle is sharing some things that we know so little about. Paul had been ‘caught up’ into Paradise, that is, the third heaven, and heard things that he was not even permitted to speak. Yet in this short narrative we can learn a bit more about our heavenly home.

Let me begin with the terms that Paul uses. The first one is a term that applies to the future of all believers.

 

Paul was Caught Up

Paul is actually using a term that belongs to the doctrine of, ‘the rapture of the church.’  The Greek word for ‘caught up’, is the word, ‘harpazo’. This word is always used but one way in the Scriptures. It is a translocation word. It speaks of a sudden seizing, a catching up, a snatching away, a carrying off, a removing, or to take something by force of power.

Harpazo is used fourteen times in the New Testament and in each case it always speaks of translocation, or movement from one place to another.

Heaven4Here is how it is used for the church:

“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up [harpazo] together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Th 4:16-18)

The apostle Paul uses the same term ‘harpazo’, to describe his having been caught up into the third heaven, and for what will happen to all believers in their time. We are going to where Paul went.

Where did Paul go. He calls attention to…

 

The Third Heaven, Paradise

The apostle equates the third heaven with the term Paradise.

To you recall what Jesus said to the thief on the cross? Listen:

“And he [the thief] was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’

“And He said to him, ‘Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luk 23:42-43)

Did you take note that Jesus said the thief would be with him in Paradise.Remember Me

Do you know that there are those who wish this story wasn’t in the Bible? Why? The reason is it blows apart most of their religious-minded thinking. 

Take note – What credentials did the thief have that would qualify him to be with Jesus in paradise? He was at the least a common thief, and who knows what else.

The thief wasn’t baptized. The thief could not make any restitution. The thief did not go through a list of his sins by way of confession. (Certainly some of this is to be done, but they in themselves do not qualify us for heaven.)

Listen again, very carefully. When the other thief hurled abuses at the Lord Jesus, listen to this thief that spoke to Jesus -

“… [He rebuked the thief who hurled abuses] ‘Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?

“‘And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.’

“And he was saying, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!’” (Luk 23:40-42)

Know what else this story does? It destroys the argument, ‘I don’t believe in death-bed repentance.’ 

If we would take more time to study the Scriptures themselves, and less time majoring on our religions, who knows what kind of person we would become. For one thing, we would likely become much more compassionate, more caring, and more loving of those around us.

If the truth be known…

 

The Only Way to Get to Heaven is the Way of the Thief

I know this sounds strange. But I’m begging you listen carefully to what thief had to say. It will help you understand why his way is the only way.

Lord Remember MeThere are three components involved to make our passage into heaven. The thief had them all. Here is a brief summary:

  1. We must recognize that there is no personal goodness in us that would qualify us for heaven. ‘We are justly under condemnation and are suffering justly. We are receiving what we deserve.’
  2. We must realize fully that Jesus alone can save us, atone for our sins, and no other. Jesus was the perfect, without sin, sacrifice. ‘This man has done nothing wrong.’ 
  3. We must believe in the Lordship of Jesus, and appeal to Him personally. ‘Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom.’

 

It Helps to Remember Where We Came From

I realize that when we become born again, we are no long considered to be sinners. The Bible actually sets forth that we are now saints. The word ‘saint’ means a holy one, that is, a person that belongs to God. This simply means that we are no longer judged as sinners.

But to think back on where we came from is good. The apostle Paul did this.

Listen -

“And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” (1Ti 1:12-15)

Why not take time for this song. It pretty much agrees with that the apostle had to say.

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In Christ always,

Buddy

The Joyful Sound of Heaven

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“How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of Your countenance. In Your name they rejoice all the day, and by Your righteousness they are exalted. For You are the glory of their strength, and by Your favor our horn is exalted.” (Psa 89:15-17)

Picking and a Grinning

 

Journal,

There are particular words in the Scriptures that enjoin the ideas of blessedness, happiness, and joy. This is especially true when a prophetic view of the Messiah is in the background.

The Psalmist said, “How blessed are the people who know the joyful sound! O LORD, they walk in the light of your countenance.”

When we think of, ‘joyful sound’, our thoughts often go to the sounds of praise and worship. This is rightly true. However, the term ‘joyful sound’ as used here by the Psalmist, carries an emphasis that isn’t always clear.

The joyful sound of this verse is the trumpet that sounded for the festivals, and especially when the trumpet was to sound on the morning of the Jubilee. The trumpet sound of Jubilee was joyful because it proclaimed the release of the captives, and the restoration of all their forfeited estates. This trumpet was to sound every fifty years.

Actually there is no Biblical record that the 50 year Jubilee was ever truly celebrated in Israel, yet its prophetic inference is important. The Jubilee had a view towards the coming King, God’s Messiah. The prophets knew this.

Listen as Jesus quotes from Isaiah:

“And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written, ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.’” (Luk 4:17-19)

Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 61. The prophet Isaiah set forth the coming of Messiah in the language of the Jubilee. The Jubilee was called, ‘the favorable year of the Lord.’ The coming of Messiah would be ‘great joy’ for all the people.

Now hear the message that the angel spoke to the paschal shepherds of the field -Joy of Salvation2

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’” (Luk 2:10-11)

This great joy would be for all people.

Even the term ‘great joy’ as spoken by the angel carries something in it that isn’t readily seen. The ‘great joy’ is the joy of God’s own heart. It is a heavenly joy that expresses God’s victory through the cross.

Listen:

“In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” (Luk 15:10)

It is the Father’s joy that fills the very presence of heaven. It is this joyful heart that the Psalmist spike of, when he said, “They [believers] walk in the light of Your countenance.” 

And here we see another interesting word. The term ‘countenance’ is the Hebrew word, ‘p?niym’ (pronounced paw-neem’) It speaks of the facial presence or reflection of a person’s attitude. Thus the believer is animated with the reflection of God’s own heart.

Jesus lights up our lives.

And so we now come to…

 

Our Heavenly Anchor

For believers this sustaining joy serves as a heavenly anchor all the days of our lives. This joy has nothing to do with earthly circumstance or situation. It is the joy of redemption. It is the joy that is an outflow of our hope in the Lord. Our hope centers on the certainty of our divine destiny.

The apostle explained it this way:

“For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom14:17)

This is also why the Psalmist included with the term, ‘joyful sound’, the adage, ‘they walk in the light of Your countenance.’ 

So, while we see the world crumbling around us, and terrible things taking place, in the deep of our hearts there is a sustaining joy of knowing that this world is not our home. We are the children of the cross and our journey on earth is but a moment in time. The eternal splendors of our heavenly home await us.

Actually we were foretold of the events we now see happening around us. The Lord said that men’s hearts would be failing them because of the distresses of these last days. Not so for the child of God. These events simply let us know that our redemption out of this world is drawing close.

Does this mean that we Christians never mourn? Certainly not. Jesus Himself wept over Jerusalem. He even wept at the tomb of Lazarus.

Joy of Salvation4Yes, we even share in the sorrow of Christ. Being born again does not mean that we lose our humanity.

Not only do we have sorrow over the passing of a loved one, but we have sorrow over the those who do not know the Lord, and especially when these take in members of our family.

We all have our share of tears and heartaches. Betty and I stood by the grave of our son, David. Yes, we wept. But at the same time we knew that David was with the Lord, and that we would be joined to him again.

It is this joy of knowing that has kept us through the years. This joy comes with the empty tomb of Jesus. He ascended into heaven. We ascend into heaven.

 

What More Can I Say

It is here where the book of Hebrews carries us through the hall of the faith of God’s people from ancient time. He begins with Abel and walks us down through the ages by calling attention to various ones who served the Lord faithfully, such as, Enoch, Noah, Moses, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Rahab, Sampson, David, Abraham, and others.

But this is the part I love most of all:

“All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

“For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. And indeed if they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.

“Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.” (Heb 11:13-16)

But the writer doesn’t finish there. He picks up the heavenly refrain by saying, “And what more shall I say?”

It is almost too much to put in this journal entry. But by chance you would like to know about the ‘what more’, is about, here is the Scripture portion. I suggest that you read it slowly and prayerfully:

“And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

“Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.

“They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

“And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.” (Heb 11:32-40)

And so – What are we waiting for?

Perhaps we are waiting for trumpet sound of Jubilee.

 

The Trumpet Sound of Jubilee

The apostle Paul did call attention to a final trumpet sound:

“Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.” (1Co 15:51-52)

While you think on these things, how about taking time for a medley of songs including the old-timey, “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder.”

 

In Christ always,

Buddy

 

Our Victory and Our Rest

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“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2Pe 1:19)

 

Journal,

Its been about three weeks since my last journal entry. Sorry about that. I’ve been out of the country on a ministry trip to Mexico. So, I’ll begin this entry with a synopsis on a Youth Conference held in Las Choapas, Veracruz, Mexico.

 

The Beautiful People of Mexico

The Mexican Youth Conference was well attended and well blessed. Our team spoke to the youth on various subjects. (Large turnout. No parents allowed.)

Nathan began the Youth Conference in speaking to the youth in Spanish, on the subject of ‘Walking in the Spirit.’ The young people responded like sponges. You could see expectancy on their faces. Lori had a special meeting with the women. 

As the conference progressed, one of our team members spoke from a Satanist background. Another was molested as a youth. Another was deeply involved in pornography and was introduced into it by a youth leader. And another spoke on purity of life. 

What made everything even more telling is that none of the team members knew how and what the other members would be sharing. The entire event was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. (There were times I was simply overwhelmed and could only weep.)

Sunday morning was for general attendance. The building overflowed with several hundred. The royal anointing of God rested upon every part of the service. 

Once again I caught myself weeping. When their worship group began, it was like a river that began flowing from the platform. The Lord of glory was meeting with us. 

I was honored to address the congregation. My ministry was on, ‘The Children of the Cross.’ God gave me insights to share about the kingdom of God, how each church is an embassy for the government of God, and how the Lord sent Pastor Pedro as an Ambassador of the kingdom to raise up their church as an embassy in Las Chaopas. 

I don’t know how many came forward for first time salvation or re-dedication. I estimate at least 60-70. Pastor Pedro later said that they had never had a service like that. Actually, I don’t recall having been in a service of that order. It was all the Lord’s doing. I believe it will be awe-inspiring as to what comes out of all this. (Like the ripple effect when a stone is thrown in the water.)

Other highlights will be shared this Sunday by our ministry team. However, there is one very important point I need to make. We could have done nothing without Nathan. Nathan did an outstanding job in having to translate for so many speakers, and yet he never complained about his own physical difficulties.

Thank you son. I am so proud of you. And I’ve also very proud of our team. What a bunch of troopers.

So now we come to the issue of …

 

Man’s Restless Heart

Humans are born with a restless heart. Wars are continually fought over this restlessness. Religions are created out of this restlessness. There seems to be no fix. Drugs-alcohol can’t fix it. Popularity, power, wealth, want to be someone special can’t fix it.

But why, why do we have such restless hearts? Augustine said it best, ‘Our hearts were made for You, O Lord, and they are restless until they rest in You.’

This brings us to man’s place with God and …

 

Partaking of the Divine

Ever since the fall of Adam, there has been a vacancy in the hearts of all humankind. David and Solomon spoke to this longing of our heart.  Listen:

[Solomon] “[God] has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end.” (Ecc 3:11)

We are eternal creatures made in the image and likeness of God. Adam’s fullness of life could only be met in God Himself. Hence Solomon tells us that ‘eternity’ itself dwells in the deepest part of our human makeup, and can only be awakened by God.

David was a prophet. In Psalm 139, David calls attention to the mystery of God’s relation to His human creation

“You [God] scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O LORD, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it.” (Psa 139:3-6)

In another place David says,

“What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and You crown him with glory and majesty!” (Psa8:4,5)

And so we come to the purpose of the cross. The purpose of the cross was and is about…

 

Our Victory and Our Rest in Christ

The term Christian carries various meanings such as, Christ like, belonging to Christ, followers of Christ, and even ‘the anointed ones.’ [Jesus Christ is the Anointed One.]

This is why Jesus describes the believer as having a divine outflow of life from within.

“He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’

 “But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.” (Joh 7:38-39)

In the new covenant, the Holy Spirit enters a believer’s heart with the fullness of our restoration to the heavenly Father. Both the apostle Peter and the apostle Paul said that we now partake of the divine life. It all took place at the cross.

This is why you find so many terms of victory in the New Testament writings, such as, ‘more than conquerors’, ‘seated with Christ in heavenly places’, ‘entered His rest’, ‘heirs and joint heirs with Christ’, ‘triumph in Christ’, ‘all things are yours’, ‘glory of the children of God’, ‘the law of liberty’, ‘no condemnation to those in Christ Jesus’, ‘passed out of death into life’, and myriads of other related statements.

Oh yes, we’ve managed to make a mess out of things by creating religions in place of relationships. I think there is no greater need than for a child of God to come to the knowledge of what being restored in Christ truly means.

Through Christ we are brought to our rightful place in God’s created order. This reflects on what Peter was talking about when he wrote,

“So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.” (2Pe 1:19)

And remember well that the best is yet to come.

While you think about these things, take time to listen to this wondrous older chorus, ‘Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine.’

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In Christ,

Buddy

 

 

Announcing the 49th School for Christian Workers

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“Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

“Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out WORKERS into His harvest.’” (Mat 9:36-38)

 

Journal,

Where Jesus told the disciples to beseech the Lord of the harvest to sent out workers into His harvest, the Biblical term for ‘worker’ (ergatés) speaks of a trained laborer. It is also used figuratively for a teacher.

Paul uses this term for the young minister, Timothy -

“Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman  (ergatés) who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2Ti 2:15)

The sole purpose of the CCI School for Christian Workers (ergatés) is to provide an atmosphere of training where believers can learn the walk of a Biblical disciple. Hundreds of believers have been trained under the auspices of the school. A number have entered the ministry as pastors or missionaries, or are involved in other aspects of the gospel ministry.

Here is the class schedule and other information for our next school. Prayerfully consider if this is where the Lord would have you attend. This may be exactly what you are looking for.

49th School for Christian Workers
Classes begin the weekend of September 9, 2012

Enrich your spiritual walk and become a better prepared disciple for the Lord through the 14-week training programs offered by the Christian Challenge International School for Christian Workers. The School is non-denominational and non-sectarian.

Email SCW@ChristianChallenge.Org for more details! Or register online today!

 

Course Descriptions

The Disciple’s Heart Training Program©

The Disciple’s Heart Training Program is the graduate course of the CCI School for Christian Workers. The purpose of this course is to open up the world of the disciple for believers.

If you wish a study program that is evangelism oriented and deeply spiritual, The Disciple’s Heart Training Program is the class to enroll in. Some students have taken this class several times just for the spiritual benefit. (Required for anyone wishing to serve in a ministry role at Christian Challenge. It has to be taken prior to the Disciple’s Heart II, or, The Shepherd’s Heart.)

Instructor: Lane Fletcher

 

The Disciple’s Heart II Training Program©

This course takes the believer into the next step of the world of the disciple. The class concentrates on a more personal level of discipleship by taking the believer into the very heart of our walk with the Lord. The student will learn much about himself and his own personal calling in life.

Instructor: Rich Carlisle

 

The Old Testament Bible Survey

The Old Testament Bible Survey provides the student with a better understanding of the Scriptures by bringing history, places, people, and festivals in the Old Testament together in a way that the students can see God’s plan of redemption working through the ages.

Instructor: Jason McManus

The Shepherd’s Heart Minister’s Training Program©

The emphasis of this training program is upon preaching and teaching, although it will prove beneficial to any believer who desires training in Biblical study skills and in Bible interpretation.

The Shepherd’s Heart covers the gospel ministry from sermon preparation to Bible interpretation. It includes lessons such as Pulpit Wisdom, Lessons in Life and Holiness. The student learns forms of speaking including extemporaneous. 

Instructor: Lawrence “Buddy” Martin

Vision For The Nations

Vision for the Nations is an analysis of the World Christian Movement based on the Perspectives study program produced by the US Center for World Missions. The course focus is on Biblical and historical foundations for missions. It deals with cross-cultural considerations in communicating the gospel today.

This course has proven to be an eye-opener to all who have taken it. Training includes video presentations by leading missiologists and missionaries from around the world. Billy Graham said, “There is no volume of which I know that will inform, inspire and motivate Christians for world evangelism like the Perspectives course.”

Instructor: Nathan Martin

Conversational Spanish

The focus of the Conversational Spanish class is to give the student a working knowledge of spoken Spanish. This class is a perfect introduction to the world of Spanish and is great for those planning short-term missions’ trips. Emphasis is placed on phrases dealing with day-to-day issues and building a vocabulary of useable words. Opportunities are also given for the student to have a testimony translated for use on a missions’ trip. 

Instructors: Jonathan Martinez, Nathan Martin

 


Financial Peace University

In 13 action-packed lessons, you’ll learn how to beat debt, build wealth, find bargains, invest for the future, give like never, and much more! This information will change your life.

Instructors: Gary & Nora Fisher

Tuition:

Tuition is $35.00 per course (some courses require additional textbooks, i.e., Spanish and Financial Peace University – Financial Peace University is $100).

The School runs 13 weeks and concludes with a graduation banquet. Each class meets once a week.  

It is recommended that students use the New American Standard Bible since most Scripture references are taken from this translation. A completed registration form (with tuition) must be turned in before School begins.

 

A Note From the Founder

My wife and I founded Christian Challenge in 1976, as a School for Christian Workers. The Lord had placed on our hearts to offer a training program in Central Louisiana, that would function on the basis of the Old Testament School of the Prophets.

The School of the Prophets was actually a mentoring society where the older servants of God could teach the younger servants. This is what our School for Christian Workers is all about. And though classes meet only once each week, the training involved affects the disciple’s every day walk.

You will rarely find training programs of the nature that we offer. Our school is unique. It is nondenominational and nonsectarian. Our sole interest is in opening the world of the Biblical disciple to our students.

We’ve had students come through our Disciple’s Heart Training Program, to tell us that they learned more of a spiritual nature in that one class than they did in Bible college. From the first class you will begin to realize that the world of the disciple is like nothing you’ve been exposed to.

If you would like a bit of extra insight into our School, go to following page. Be sure to click on the video at the bottom of the page. It tells the story of Christian Challenge in part –

http://buddymartin.net/blog/about/

May the Lord richly reward you for you devotion to His kingdom.

In Christ always,

Buddy

Just For Old Times Sake

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“Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.”
(Act 3:19-21)

Readers,

When is the last time you’ve been to an old-time revival meeting?

Or to word it better, ‘How would you like to hear an old-time preacher try to preach an old-time revival meeting?’ 

Well now is your chance. Better mark your calendar. Here’s the information

 

The 

Martin’s in Revival

Mora House of Prayer - Mora, Louisiana

Friday and Saturday 6:30 p.m. – June 29th and 30th

Sunday Home Coming, 10:30 a.m. – July 1st

Martins: Nathan on the guitar, Shana on the piano, Faith on the base guitar, Buddy on the banjo, and Rich Waring on the harmonicas.

 

Just For Old Time’s Sake

Think back 42 years, and you’ll have the Martins in revivals.

It is such an honor to be invited by Sister Sandra Hillman Wallace to serve as the evangelist for the revival at Mora House of Prayer. How long has it been? 

Wow, such memories – Forty-two years ago we held our first revival in this very church. I was 30 years old and now I’m pressing 72.

Come to think of it, many of my readers weren’t even born then. In fact our daughter wasn’t yet part of the picture.

And many of the old timers from those long gone years, have already made their journey home. I have such wonderful memories of God’s people who are no longer with us on this side of heaven. 

Well, for the Martins, our evangelism circuit was largely in Louisiana but with some revivals in Texas, and a short stint of ministry work in New Mexico.

However, Central Louisiana was always our favorite preaching grounds. We held meetings or otherwise preached in churches in Mora, Flatwoods, Pinecoupee, Sharp, Lena, and other outlying areas. (We sort of lost count of the baptisms. They were so many.)

But the Mora church will always have a very special place in our hearts. The Hillmans had just taken pastorate of the church and the Martins were their first evangelists. Some years later that we were blessed to pastor that very church before establishing Christian Challenge.

But the circle has been made. Sister Hillman is now the pastor. (Brother Hillman went to be with the Lord in 1999. It was my honor to preach his funeral. How I have always loved that family.)

Yup, it’s time to dust off the guitar, shake out the cobwebs, stir up the bones and set about to preach the old, old, story of how a Savior came from glory.

Yup, you know the story of how He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me.

It’s going to be old-timey. The Martins will be sharing gospel music from yesteryear.

I want to extend a special invite to all our friends who have had a share in the Martin revivals in years gone by. It would be wonderful to see many of those that were baptized during the revivals. 

And now for a bit of humor. Yup….

 

A Little Humor Goes a Long Way

I’ve often been asked how a person can know if they have been called to the ministry? My stock answer is, ‘If you can stay out of the ministry, you weren’t called to begin with.’ 

As for me, the call to preach has rested on my heart from childhood. You can verify this with some of my cousins.

I use to hem some of my cousins in the outhouse while I stood in the door so they couldn’t escape. And there I would preach a hellfire and brimstone sermon. Course we didn’t have much room for an altar call. Everyone was just glad when I let them out. 

Well, no, I’ve never lost my sense of humor. The good news is that I’ve graduated far beyond fire and brimstone preaching. Found out through the years that the gospel has a much greater story to tell.

The old old story is about a Father’s love for all of fallen humanity. It is the story of redeeming grace. It is a story that cannot be measured by any measurement we are acquainted with.

Jesus said it best of all. Listen:

“All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day.” (Joh 6:37-39)

Guess you could say that my ministry has had great changes through the years.

Be that what it may, here is a song that will minister to your heart. It carries the story of the gospel, the very story that I will be telling in the Mora House of Prayer revival – ‘Selah – There is a Fountain.’

 

Always in Christ,

Buddy

God’s Unfailing Love

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For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Deu 4:31)

 

 

 

Journal,

It really disturbs me when I hear preachers talk to struggling believers as if they were sinners going to hell, and then treat sinners as if they were dogs. Who is the one who would abuse the very ones that God loves so deeply? Jesus did not tell Peter to beat His sheep. He told Peter to love them, to care for them, to feed them.

The Father did not send His Son into the world to lose sinners. He sent Him to save sinners. And saving sinners is not a one time deal. Jesus came into our lives to save us from all our sins, from all our mistakes, from all our failures, and from all our stumbles in life.

Listen to what the angel spoke to Joseph, about the Coming birth of Jesus:

“…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.‘” (Mat 1:20-21)

 

The Transforming Power of God

God has given us a message that must be clearly preached. Preachers are not sent to condemn the world. The world is already under condemnation. The message that God sent us to preach is the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. This is the message that God sends to broken humanity?

Listen:

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (Joh 3:16-17)

Did you notice the two statements that begin with, For God…”

Look closely to what these statements address: God’s love for the world, and, the mission of God’s Son.

In my forty-seven years in the ministry I have often seen how the message of God’s love for all of humanity works to transform the most sinful of lives.

People need to know that Jesus loves them, and that He loves them without condition. He loves them enough to come and live with them, and to help them work out all the details of their lives.

This does not mean that anyone can be saved aside from receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. What it means it that Jesus is the eternal Savior. Jesus is the Father’s love sent into our world. Jesus came to love us into the kingdom of God.

To believe in and receive Jesus Christ as truly God’s Son, that He died, was resurrected, that He ascended, and is Lord, is what brings a person into God’s family on earth. Each member of the family is given a new heart to love God. Not a heart that is incapable of sinning, but a heart that hurts deeply when sin enters the picture.

What many do not realize is that sin of itself is contrary to the very God-given nature of the child of God. Yes, a believer can and does sin at times, but sin for a believer deeply grieves their heart. Thus we often come to the Lord for our cleansing and forgiveness.

I must again speak of …

 

A Shock Story Needs a Retelling

I never tire of sharing this story. I hope my readers to never tire of hearing it. The reason I often share it is because of the shock that I received from an old Indian.

So, here it goes again -

I’ve been in and out of Latin American countries on mission trips many times. On this occasion we were among the Mayan Indians in the mountains of Belize. Walking along a mountain trail with some of our group, I noticed an old Indian had stopped by the side of the trail to let us pass. That’s when it happened.

The Lord nudged my heart. I stopped next to the old Indian, and said, “Sabes tu que Christo te ama?” Instantly his hands went to his face and he began to weep. I could hardly believe my eyes. Indians tend to be very stoic people. Why was he weeping? The only thing I said to him was, “Do you know that Jesus Christ loves you?”

You see, these Indians were steeped in idolatry. Fear controlled their lives. They had mountain gods, and witches, and dark spirits at work in their lives. The only other religion they were exposed to was Catholicism. But this religion said little about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

I assured him as best I could about how much God truly loved Him. The old Indian’s eyes were still wet with tears when we parted. But now I understood why the Holy Spirit impressed me to make that statement.

The love of Jesus is the message of the cross. The old Indian did not need to hear a message of condemnation. He lived in a state of condemnation. He needed to know that God truly loved him.

When as I preached that evening in the open mountain building, I became very aware of the oppressing spirits. The darkness felt strong. Yet the message had to go forth, and it did. More people were added to God’s holy kingdom.

Was Satan mad? You bet. Could he do anything about it? Not a thing in the world.

What’s the issue? It is simple. Jesus did not come into the world to lose people. He came to save the lost ones. Jesus is a great Savior. He is a Savior that finishes what He begins. This is why the Bible says that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith.

Shall I go on? Let me share when…

 

A Young Man Saves Others

I stood behind the casket of a young man. It was at one of the larger churches in Honduras. The story was very sad. The Honduran army had conscripted him. They often do this by picking up young men off of the streets. Anyway, this young man was a Christian. While serving in the Army a number of soldiers beat him severely. In the hospital he was given a blood transfusion, but the blood had HIV. This became the cause of his death.

No, I don’t have any answers as to the whys of life. But again I preached the simple message of God’s love. And once again the people crowded across the front. They wanted to know and to meet the Savior that loved them. All these people were under a religious system that had little to say about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Yes, Jesus accepted every one of them.

This young man went to be with Jesus. Many more were saved at his funeral than had been saved during his short life. His testimony for Jesus became the gathering point for hundreds to be at his funeral.

Is this not the story of many Christians? Did not the first Christian martyr, Stephen, die with the testimony of Jesus on his lips?

Have you ever wondered why Jesus attracted so many of the outcasts of life? Study the gospels and you will see the Father’s heart as it was revealed in Jesus. Jesus loved people. It was His love that attracted the people to Him. He loved them. He healed them. He shared with them how to live.

I think you are getting the picture. What is it we need to understand? If the gospel of Jesus Christ is not about the love of God, it is no gospel at all. The gospel is good news. It is happy tidings. Why would God send His Son into the world to die for our sins, if it was not because He loved us so much. There is no other gospel.

It is the gospel of God’s love that melts the human heart.

 

Yes, Judgement Has Its Place

Yes, judgment has its place in the message of the cross. Sin must be dealt with. For those who reject Jesus Christ, the message must become clear on the issue of judgment.

The Bible does speak often of judgment. Listen to a further reading in John 3:

“He who believes in Him [Jesus] is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (Joh 3:18-19)

And as for sin, yes, we are free to choose sin if we wish. However, we are not free to choose the consequences. And to reject Jesus Christ is to live under a sentence of judgment.

There are more incidences where God instructed me to speak of His love. Here is another story where the Lord said…

 

Tell Them that I Love Them

We were in a barrio (village) south of Reynosa. I had a Mexican-American gospel singing group with me. We walked through the barrio inviting the people to a service that evening. A wealthy Christian woman had made her courtyard available for our use.

The courtyard filled up. This time I am startled but for a different reason. I had never seen physical conditions of that nature. One person literally had tumors hanging from her body.

I asked the Lord what He wanted me to say. He said that I was to tell them three things.

First, tell them that I love them.

Then tell them that I want to heal their lives.

And tell them that they must learn to walk in His ways and not in the ways of darkness.

That barrio saw our first church raised up in Mexico. It was all a result of telling the people who Jesus Christ truly loved, that He wanted to share their lives. Yes, once again we saw peoples giving their hearts and lives to Jesus.

There is so much more I would like to share, but I think the point has been well established.

What is the point? The point is that we must never give up on people. God doesn’t.

While you think about that, take time for this song by Chris Tomlin, ‘Unfailing Love.’

 

 

In Christ always,

Buddy

The Believer’s Validation of Faith

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“ … to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith … ” (Eph 3:14-19)

 

Journal,

What is it in a believer’s life that validates their faith in Jesus Christ? The answer really isn’t complicated. What validates any true believer’s faith in Jesus, is the presence of the Lord in their heart and life.

Peter address this validation:

“But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1Pe 3:15)

Paul also addresses this quite plainly:

“For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.” (Rom 8:15-16)

 

The Power and Presence of a Person

When the apostle said that the believer is to be, ‘strengthened with power in the inner man,’ he was not addressing an abstract notion. Paul is speaking of the very personal presence of Christ Jesus Himself.

It is the presence of Jesus in the hearts of believers that enables them live in an overcoming life. Jesus strengthens us, nurtures us, corrects us, guides us, disciplines us, but He will never leave us.

The apostle explained this personal aspect of our walk with the Lord. Listen:

“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20)

This is why it is so important to realize something of …

 

The Voice of God

The call of salvation is a personal call to come walk with Jesus. It can never be merely about religion. Nothing can substitute for the call from Jesus Christ. This is why faith in Jesus cannot be conjured up. It is a living reality.

Faith is responding to a living voice.

“So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word (or, ‘utterance’) of Christ.” (Rom 10:17)

Paul is stating something that Jesus had 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 … ” (Joh 10:27-29)

The Greek term for voice [phõné] speaks of the cry of a living being which can be heard by others, or by someone in particular. It always addresses a voice. In this case it is the call of Jesus for His sheep to follow Him.

Again from Jesus:

“I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice [phõné]; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (Joh 10:16)

Phõné is the word used when the Father speaks at the baptism of Jesus…

“And behold, a voice [phõné] out of the heavens said, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased.’” (Mat3:17)

Then we have this from the book of Isaiah about the voice of Christ leading us to correct paths:

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.” (Isa 30:21)

The issue in Isaiah has to do with God bearing witness, even through others.

No matter how much we love where the Lord has placed us in His body, we must never let our religion take the place of our relationship with Jesus.

 

Religion Was Nailed to the Cross – Relationship Takes its Place

It was religion that was nailed to the cross when Jesus was crucified. I realize this may seem difficult to grasp, but it is very crucial to understand when it comes to living by faith.

We are to have faith in Jesus Christ, regardless of where we may find ourselves worshipping.

Both Jesus and the apostle Paul addressed this. Listen:

[To the woman at the well.] “Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. … God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.’” (Joh 4:21-24)

Jesus is telling her that there is no longer a need for religion of itself to serve as her guide. The time had come when true worshippers will know a personal reality of the Father and will serve Him in spirit and truth.

Paul also shares how the Jewish religion [law of Moses] was nailed to the cross:

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him,

“… having forgiven us all our transgressions, having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us;

“… and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Col 2:13-14)

This brings us to the place where we need to …

 

Expect the Unexpected

The apostle explained that in learning to walk with the Lord Jesus, we must learn to expect the unexpected.

Listen:

“ … so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, …

“ … and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. 

“ … Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us.” (Eph 3:17-20)

Every word that the apostle shares, counts.

Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. We are to be rooted and grounded in His love for us, that is, a love that we can never be fully comprehended or that we can ever be separated from.

But we are to seek to comprehend that which seems incomprehensible. Thus we have the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus spoke of this teaching aspect as the schoolhouse of the Holy Spirit. (Schoolhouse is my term.)

“But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.

“He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you.

“All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you.” (Joh 16:13-15)

 

The Call of Love 

Expect the unexpected can be reckoned as the call of God’s love.

We are to realize that God truly loves us, and that Jesus Christ is not limited in our lives to what we think He can do. His presence and power knows no limit.

Expect the unexpected works on two levels. It works in providence, that is, where we can look back and see how the Lord cared for us through time and circumstance. We even see where our trials were a form of blessing.

Expect the unexpected also continues to work with Christ speaking into our lives. (We’ve already address the voice aspect.)

The point is simple. The Lord’s call to, ‘Come walk with Me,’ is the call of God’s love. It includes the call to a straying child. It is the call of love that reaches past our failures, our sins, and even our greatest disappointments.

It is the call of eternity.

What you don’t hear is, “Follow Me, and I will make a wreck of your life.”

Jesus said that He came to give us life and life abundantly.

This is what Jesus said:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30)

 

Do you need a validation for your faith?

God spoke through the prophet Isaiah, saying,

“Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jer 33:3)

Have you called upon the Lord? Think about it.

In the meantime, here is a song for your meditation - ‘How Great is Our God’ 

In Christ always,

Buddy