Can I sustain love for God while being in full time ministry?
I’ve been in full time ministry for fifteen years and I have zeroed in on one of my greatest enemies. This enemy comes when you least expect it and is so camouflaged it can go unchecked very easily, causing unnecessary damage to you and those around you. The most devastating truth about this enemy is that it causes one to lose ground in their walk with God yet while thinking you’re gaining ground. It’s very deceiving. The enemy I’m speaking of is a spirit of religion that is ultimately grounded in the pride of man.
I hate this enemy. I find myself battling its tendencies constantly. This enemy of mine seeks to completely take over my walk with Jesus, define my relationship with Jesus and then leave me with no godly fruit but rather condemnation, guilt and shame. A religious approach to God is based solely on what I do and accomplish as I compare myself to what others do and accomplish. Those in a ministry-type of occupation are usually the ones in the cross hairs of this spirit the most. Although every believer is within it’s scope.
When Jesus came in the flesh this is the spirit that lashed out at Him in hatred and death threats. Yet people inspired by this spirit were the ones that confessed to be the closest to God, thought they knew Him the best and embraced spiritual disciplines the most. Yet when God, the One they confessed to know, came and stood in front of them, literally, they hated Him and ultimately had Him killed. Yes, the ones who read the Bible, taught the Bible, fasted food and gave offerings were the ones out of offense and hatred sought to have Him killed. read more…
The morning was perfect. I had settled into my deer-stand early, before the sunrise. It was cold enough to see your breath that morning and the dark, heavy-timbered woods were quiet. I didn’t realize it, but on this particular morning I would have one of the most remarkable and formative experiences with God that I have ever had. Before I tell you about this glorious experience let me tell you just a little more about my life back then.
There are few things that I’ve enjoyed more in my life than getting out into the woods to bow hunt. I’ve had the itch since I was a young boy – a desire to voyage, to search and to hunt for things. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you the outdoors is part of who I am. My dad and my grandpa gave me directions of how to scratch some of the outdoor itch. They taught me how to hunt, fish, camp and hike through the woods. I remember as a teenager I could hardly get enough of any of those activities. My friends and I would plan campouts, hikes through the woods and hunt rabbits, squirrels, deer and turkeys any chance we could. Many times I would even get up before school and go bow hunting for deer.
We’re coming up on 7 years since our twin daughters, Charli & Ali passed away. We were so glad to be able to share their story and the story of God’s faithfulness to us last month on the 700 Club Interactive show. Below is a link to the show and also an article they posted on their website.
Link HERE to the video interview.
Wes & Amanda Martin
By Suzanne O’Keeffe, 700 Club Interactive
CBN.com –WES AND AMANDA
Wes went to college outside St. Louis, MO. He and Amanda joined the “party scene”, melting into the typical college life but Wes took it a step further and became involved with drugs. In 1999 as he is quoted saying, “In the mercy of God, through a series of events I was delivered and Amanda, while visiting a friend in Florida, was converted at the Brownsville Revival.” Together they sought the Lord and while in Mexico City, Mexico where they had been ministering, they became engaged. Their wedding took place on June 23rd of 2001. Their walk with the Lord deepened as they determined to carry God’s “grace and gifting” given to them, while wanting to display the passion for Jesus. Prayer, fasting, and reading the Bible have been the cornerstone of their life in Christ. These are the things they desire to see implanted in the hearts and minds of the younger generation.
Wes and Amanda had been married 5 years and this was their 1st pregnancy. They found Amanda was carrying twins early on and it began as a healthy pregnancy. Close to 7 months into the pregnancy they found out that baby B, who would be named Charli, had a pocket of fluid on her brain. The doctor recommended a level two ultra sound that “zoomed in” more, and had a higher technology. Baby A, who became Ali, was not able to be seen on the ultra sound until a few weeks later. The ultra sound showed that ninety percent of the inside of her head was fluid, no brain formation. Doctors were unable to figure out why, or what happened; there were no answers but Wes and Amanda contended for healing. A few weeks later during the ultra sound, Ali had moved to where they could see her and they found same problem in Ali. Wes shared what an emotional roller coaster it was for them because “you think you have one who is healthy while contending for healing for the other and then in a moment’s time, that changed to both babies in same condition.” The doctors were not encouraging claiming the girls would be vegetative if they lived and would require full time, round the clock care. An abortion was recommended, and the Martin’s declined.
Here’s a message from this last year’s onething Kansas City conference. Downloadable notes and video. Enjoy.
Here’s a link to the notes and video. Enjoy.
God’s grace enables us to stay steady in our love and service to Him no matter the circumstances that may come our way. His grace enables and strengthens us. He is mighty to save, deliver and lead. I hope this message I recently preached at IHOP-KC touches your heart.
View Message HERE
I hear ya. Me too. There are many who struggle with giving themselves in a consistent way to reading the Word. However we can’t let this be our story. We must have a breakthrough. It can be done.
Here are few keys that may help you. These have proven to help me stay in the Word and encounter more of God in my day to day Christian walk. This, by the way, is His supreme desire for all of us. To encounter Him in our hearts and minds thus unlocking our love to be spent on Him.
The Bible is the primary way in which God has chosen to reveal Himself to us. Not the only way, but the primary way. Therefore we don’t have an option in whether or not we’re going to be students of His Word. We sign up because we long to know Him and know His heart for us. He will help us.
I approach the Bible as if it were God’s personal letter written to me. As if it showed up one day in my mailbox, a letter personalized for me from God. This is right for you too. The Word of God is God’s Word for you. It’s profoundly personal.
As I open the letter and begin reading I remind myself of His great desire, to reveal Himself to me. This is why I open the book, to discover God. There’s more to Bible Study than simply getting through the “devotion” for the day or reading the Book through in one year. There’s more than retaining a few cool stories to be recited later. There’s more. There’s the revelation of the Creator. We were made for encounter. We were made for God. As we read we are invited in to encountering the very Author Himself, the Creator Himself, Jesus.
So I remind myself constantly of the goal of my study. It’s not only to retain information or to complete my devotion, it’s to experience the Person who gave His life for me, He loves me more than I know. This is my main motive, this is main goal of Bible reading. I open the pages and go from verse to verse hungry for my heart to connect to truth and my mind to be exhilarated with God.
I have to resist my own religious tendencies of changing my goal and motive. It’s not to simply “check the box” that my Bible reading is completed for the day so I can feel good about myself. I don’t want to just “check the box.” I want more in my motive. I want more for my heart. I want Him.
Jesus told the pharisees in John 5:39-40 a very sobering thing as it relates to Bible study with the wrong motive. 39 You search the Scriptures for in them you think you have eternal life and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
In essence Jesus was saying that Bible study without encountering the Author Himself or talking to the Author Himself is fruitless. It’s not about the motions of Bible-reading discipline. It’s about connecting with Jesus. This is what will bolster our heart and life in God. This is where eternal life is found.
1) Resist the religious approach to the Scriptures of simply going through the motions without reaching with your heart and mind to talk and connect with Jesus while we read.
2) Keep your goal to be “encounter” vs. “checking the box”
3) Read slow and when your heart moves or your mind is inspired pause and dialogue with Jesus. Resist the feeling of having to get through your devotion. Sometimes you may not complete the devotion material for the day. Who cares?! If it’s because your encountering the heart of Jesus it’s worth it! That’s the true goal.
4) Be motivated more about your heart being alive in God compared to memorizing all the right scriptures. I love information but I want more than information. I want my heart to be alive in God.
I’ll leave you with this verse. This is the fruit of true God-encountering Bible Study. Luke 24:32 “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked to us on the road and while He opened the scriptures to us!”
Lord open the Bible to us that our hearts might burn within us.
Don’t give up.
For more on this you can watch/listen a message I spoke and/or download more notes by clicking HERE.
We definitely had a spiral of emotion last month when we thought we were heading to FL to adopt Jamaican twins, one boy and one girl. It fell through. Perhaps the mom changed her mind or someone in her family stepped up to the plate. We simply don’t know. After the mom initially contacted the adoption agency she never responded again. Of course I can only imagine the emotion she was going through. That’s anything but a small decision. God bless her and the babies.
So Amanda and I are back to the glorious waiting in the adoption process. We’re so grateful for the many people that responded immediately to our need and then insisted that we keep the funds for a future adoption when we notified them that this particular one had changed direction. Praise God for generous people that love kids.
We’re waiting and praying.
Wes, Amanda, Owen and Maci
We said yes to adoption earlier this year and finished our homestudy this past April. We’ve been waiting ever since. Today, out of the blue, we got a call and there are twins being born this Monday in Florida. We know the mom is Jamaican, not sure about the dad. The babies are one boy and one girl and they’re healthy. That’s really all we know. We said yes immediately and are now waiting for the final confirmation. We should know within 48 hours.
We’ll need $30k total of which we have $10k ready to go that we’ve already set back for this. We weren’t expecting the double cost but here we go!
Pray and Give if you can. If we don’t get the babies we’ll be waiting again. Apparently this can happen at any moment, keeps it interesting for sure
Any questions let me know.
Thanks for reading, praying and standing with us.
God bless the Martin Family of KC!!!!