A Father’s Voice

Photo taken on a nighttime drive in the Chaco. “ Snake on a wire…snake pretending to be a wire….snake waiting for its prey to land.”

I am in Paraguay. The land is beautiful and the people are friendly. But I am not here simply as a tourist. I am here on a divine assignment. However, sometimes the assignment becomes broader than I originally understood.

I now understand that a part of the assignment is to call your attention to an issue urgently requiring your prayers.

So here is the issue:

A friend of mine, Anton Harder, of Asuncion, Paraguay, has been a father’s voice in Paraguay. He and his wife, Lolita, lead an organization, called Decisiones, which has informed the choices of hundreds of thousands of young people in Paraguay through media, lectures and counseling. This organization is now under attack.

As I prayed and reflected on the situation, I felt God gave me the following word.
Pray that the voice of this ministry will increase in power and scope. Praise God that He knows how to care for His own.

A FATHER’S VOICE

A father’s voice was heard in the land of Paraguay. The father said, “Here are your options regarding sexual ethics and here are the potential consequences. You must make your choice.”

For 17 years the father’s voice was heard across the land of Paraguay in most of the public schools. The government of Paraguay allowed this voice because the government values informed choices. The government desires a population who live by life-giving principles and not by the impulses of the moment, without regard to the welfare of future generations.

Paraguay had a treasure of moral guidance in the sex education program offered to its young people. This treasure was of course known in Paraguay where hundreds of thousands of young people were guided in making decisions that would enhance there personal lives as well as their culture. But children growing up in other countries in the western world have impaired access to this treasure.

There is an emphasis in the world on celebrating actions which lead to death of the individual and death of the culture. For purposes of this discussion we will call that emphasis the “Spirit of Death”.

The Spirit of Death celebrates any action that an individual desires and plays down the potential consequences of those actions under the guise of freedom of choice.

The Spirit of Death hates children and plays down the consequences of one’s actions. The Spirit of Death celebrates that “all actions are created equal”. The Spirit of Death distorts the reality that some choices lead to death. The One who hates children, celebrates that any choice can lead to a bright future when in fact some choices are associated with death of children, death of a hopeful future and eventually death of a culture.

“Take away the father’s voice”, is the plan of the Spirit of Death. “Plant fear in the heart of all fathers and in all those who support fathers, should the fathers dare to raise their voices in support of life and against the deceptions of the Spirit of Death.”

This Spirit of Death has now been unleashed in Paraguay. Media attacks are now coming against the voice of the fathers in the land. The Spirit of Death takes a statement made by a father and twists it, making it appear that the father is forcing his will on the children, when in fact the father has been very careful to describe actions and consequences and to put the informed choices clearly in front of the children.

Even good men and women are now trembling in the face of the unleashed fury of the Spirit of Death. Good people are saying, “If we had only said it differently, we could have avoided this attack and we could have continued our message.”

But it is not ‘how’ you say it; it is ‘that’ you say it. The Spirit of death is determined to destroy the Father’s voice. There is no appeasing that Spirit by simply changing the wording. The Spirit of Death is determined to extinguish the voice of the Father so that actions which lead to death will be as attractive as those which lead to life. In other words, the Spirit of Death wants to redefine cultural values so that “evil is called good and good is called evil.”

So what is a father to do when attacked for acting as a loving father? What are those, who recognize the treasure they have had in the moral guidance offered to the youth of Paraguay, to do when that treasure is threatened with destruction?

How shall we respond to the Spirit of Death?

1. Do not yield to intimidation. The Spirit of Death operates through a spirit of intimidation. Those attacked can quickly give way to fear and in their fear attempt to appease the Spirit of Death. But, in fact, nothing will appease this Spirit but total destruction of all moral values.

2. Remember that perfect love casts out fear. The father is motivated by love for the children, love for the culture, love for the country and love for God. The true Father even has love for the “enemies” who come against him, knowing that they have been deceived by and motivated by the Spirit of Death. The father must stand firm in that love, knowing that love is stronger than death and that love gives him authority and courage to speak into the face of the intimidating Spirit of Death.

3. Increase the strength of the father’s voice to the culture. Do not back down; do not give in and do not go quiet. Take control of the narrative. Expand the scope of where the father’s voice is heard. Take it to the nations. The nations need to learn from the treasure that has been in Paraguay. The Spirit of Death will learn that every attack against the father’s voice only leads to amplification of the fathers voice in the culture. No weapon formed against fathers by the Spirit of Death will prosper.

4. Engage in spiritual warfare. Those of Christian faith know that we are in a spiritual battle and that we must increase our prayers and intercession. The enemy is not the media or those persons who speak against fathers; the real enemy is Satan the father of lies and deception who desires death for all people. We pray with the confidence and faith that God has ordained life and order in culture. We know that God reigns so we pray in Faith.
5. We celebrate the goodness and grace and love of God. We celebrate his plans to bless and prosper, not to destroy. We celebrate that this present attack by the Spirit of Death will not be successful. We celebrate that life and blessings will abound in Paraguay and in regions beyond in spite of these attacks. We celebrate that the Father’s voice will be heard in all nations.

*’fathers’ in this statement can include ‘mothers’ or anyone who lays out behavioral options with potential consequences so that the young have the best information to inform their freedom of choice.

By Enos Daniel Martin

Grandpa 33

From a Dream While in India

My first day here in India has provided me the opportunity to be refreshed and to enjoy the love of friends. PC Alexander and his wife Alice of PTL-India and their son Ashish and his wife Sonia and son Ayaan are hosting me. It has been three years since I have been here. I will be traveling with Alex throughout India ministering to leaders and churches.

The joy of our fellowship together was overshadowed with reflections on the intense persecution which Christians are facing here.

I had felt before leaving the States that God was calling me to be a messenger of joy on this trip to India. But my soul was in anguish as to how to be joyful in such circumstances. I retired early, wondering what God would have me say.

I awoke from a dream in the middle of the night. In the dream Jesus was singing over me “JESUS PROTECTS OUR LOVE and LOVE PROTECTS OUR VIEW.”

Upon awakening I immediately wrote down the words of the dream fearing that they would slip away or be altered in my recall of them.

As I pondered the meaning of these words I recalled that Mary in Luke 10: 38-42, had sat at Jesus feet and in John 12: 1-8, she washed his feet with perfume. She was criticized in both cases.

The first time she was criticized by her own sister, a good person, for being impractical. The second time she was criticized by Judas, a major hypocrite who said the perfume should’ve been sold and the money given to the poor. But Scripture adds that he didn’t care a bit about the poor but was actually a thief.

In both cases Jesus defended Mary. He said that loving him and hearing from Him is the one thing that’s important and in the second case he said that when you love Jesus you learn that there is a cosmic meaning in your actions which impacts heaven and earth. And you see things from a totally different perspective.

Mary was simply expressing her love by lavishing perfume on Jesus feet but she and everyone else there were given the new perspective that her act of love was anointing Jesus for his death and burial.

So Jesus protected Mary’s love and he brought new vision out of it to bless the world.

I thought of the major polarization even in the Christian community between those who speak in favor of the poor and the immigrant and those who speak in favor of the unborn infant. Both sides make their points strongly.

But Jesus is saying in the midst of this turmoil and conflict: “Remember that the most important thing is your love for me. I will protect your investment of love and from it you will receive a vision of how to proceed and a vision of how your love is blessing the world.

If Jesus can do this in the States for his disciples, he can do it for his disciples in India.

So as impractical or wasteful as it may seem to even good people, much less the unbeliever, the most important thing in the world is to spend time daily listening to Jesus speak and loving him and lavishing praise and worship upon Him.

And He did promise that he will protect our investment of love and from it we will gain a new perspective on how our love is impacting and can impact the world.

Thank you, Lord, for your words; they give me strength and joy.

Enos Daniel Martin

Birthday Song

This is the birthday song which my daughter Sonya and her children wrote for me this afternoon.

Birthday Song Link

CASTING CROWNS

Recently a dear friend of mine who happens to be a king and a bishop sent me an announcement about a supreme Council of Bishops. I was about to go off in my thinking in a negative direction about all the titles that were listed in this announcement, when the Spirit reminded me of the following passage from the book of Revelation:

“And round about the throne …. I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. (Revelation 4:4)
The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, (Revelation 4:10)
Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. “(Revelation 4:11)

So, the Spirit asked me, “How could the elders cast their crowns, if they did not first have crowns to cast?”

This is what followed in my reflections:

In the course of our lives we are given crowns by people. Yesterday I was given beautiful crowns (wonderful comments) for my Facebook post on a broken cup.

This morning I was “casting the crowns” that were put on me, before the Lord because it was really an inspiration from him and He deserves the crowns.

So I guess if I would stay in spiritual shape, I must continually exercise by casting crowns before Him. If I’m given a crown, I’m always casting it before Him. So that one day when I’m in His ultimate presence I will know what to do.

Because I have continually practiced casting the crowns, that men have placed on my head, at His feet, then I will know that even the crown that He places on my head needs to be cast at His feet because it was of Him that we have righteousness and glory and honor.

All glory to His mighty name!

(Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. ) (2 Timothy 4:8)

Check out this song “Who am I” by the group: Casting Crowns
https://youtu.be/mBcqria2wmg

Grandpa 30

Lessons from the Dark

This morning I was sitting in the dark praying, when as I reached for my coffee cup on a nearby stand I bumped the cup causing it to teeter. The thought flashed through my mind, “This cup is about to fall off the stand and break.” I reached through the dark again to steady the cup, only to knock it off the stand to the floor where it shattered.

I quickly collected the pieces trying to minimize the distraction and get everything to the trash in one step. But in my hurry, I dropped the broken pieces, further shattering them.

As I laughed to myself at the incongruity of the whole thing, the Lord spoke three things to my spirit.
1. Do not try to correct things in the dark. Turn on the light of my Spirit and I will show you what needs to be done.
2. Do not insist on cleaning up a mess in one step. Be willing to take several steps to deal with an issue. The Spirit is not exhausted after one step.
3. Do not conclude that unexpected problems are necessarily distractions from my purposes. They may be opportunities I am providing for learning and healing and growth.

Grandpa 29

GRANDPARENTS’ PRAYER RELAY

I was speaking recently with a Christian woman of great prayer and faith and she confided in me the struggle she was having in praying for her child. She said:

“Would you pray with me about this issue. It can make me feel hopeless and defeated almost everyday. And I just keep holding on to the Lord for an answer but hope gets crushed by the seemingly unanswered prayer.”

I thought ‘Wow, if a devout Christian who is experienced in prayer and faith is getting discouraged in prayer, how much more likely is the person who is casual in their faith and prayers to become discouraged.’

Suddenly the Holy Spirit spoke to me and said, “This is what grandparents are for.!”

I immediately saw the Spirit’s point. Grandparents usually have downsized, at least somewhat, from their usual busyness and have a bit more time for prayer. If this journey of prayer and intercession is perceived to be a relay, then the grandparents can step in and take a period of that relay and give relief to their children or to the person or persons for whom they are serving as surrogate grandparents.

So I said to this Christian sister:

I want you to take a one month break from praying and interceding for your child. I want you to spend your time praising God for his goodness, for his Majesty and for all the prayers He has answered. Don’t ask Him to do anything for you, but just spend time praising him and thanking him.

During that month Ruth and I will take on the intercession for your child and for you. If there’s a burden to be carried, we will carry it; if there’s anguish in prayer we will be anguished. We will persevere; we will persist; we will prevail. You rejoice that the burden is lifted.

In a month we will get together to thank God for what He he’s done for all of us in this relay month.

I think this Grandparents Relay Month (GRM) is something God wants to spread. So if you are a grandparent or are willing to serve as a ‘grandparent intercessor’, make it known that you are willing to take on the burden of intercession for a loved one for a month. And if you are facing discouragement in your prayer life, find a grandparent or person willing to be a surrogate grandparent, to give you a break so that you can praise and believe and get out from under the burden of discouraged praying.

Testimonials from Mount Clare Christian School

Tears came to my eyes as I read these testimonials from Mount Clare, an inner-city Christian school associated with Wilkens Avenue Mennonite Church, Baltimore. Seven of my grandchildren have gone to this school. My daughter Gwen is the principal and my daughter Marita and her husband Todd are the pastors of the church. So we have a lot of thoughts and prayers surrounding this sacred space in the inner-city.

CELEBRATION OF A MARTYR’S FAITH

As my son Vaughn and I were praying together this week we were touched to learn of the story of John Allen Chau, who lost his life on North Sentinel Island where he testified of Christ to one of the last completely unreached tribes on the earth.

John was a true hero, one who demonstrated an example of courage and commitment that should be celebrated and emulated by the church everywhere.

As we read the stories and prayed, we felt the Lord leading us to hold a commemorative service celebrating John’s life and testimony.

On Sunday evening, December 2, 2018, at 6pm, we will hold a worship service at LifeGate Church, 5636 Bossler Road, Elizabethtown, PA 17022, to celebrate John’s life and testimony. A free will offering will be taken for All Nations, the ministry under which John served.

We have been holding conversations with those who knew John personally. At the meeting, we will present the real story of John’s life and his final mission trip and the lessons that can be learned from his example. We believe his story will be a powerful inspiration to all who hear it.

John spent the last years of his life preparing to go to North Sentinal Island, where one of the last completely unreached tribes dwell. Last week he traveled there and testified of Jesus Christ. There he finished his race, and went home to be with his Father.

John Chau was a missionary, and an overcomer. Last week, John overcame “by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of his testimony, and he loved not his life unto death (Rev. 12:11).” Last week John proved that he loved Jesus Christ more than his own life.

May his tribe increase.

Grandpa 26

V.I.P’s to God

Ruth and I are flying home tonight from Baja, Mexico. We are leaving a part of our hearts here with new friends we made in San Felipe. We attended a church Sunday which reminded us of our home church at LifeGate. Each of us was given a sticker which said we were V.I. P.’s to God. And then, although we were total strangers, they invited us to a home for a fun time of fellowship and feasting.

Yesterday we drove across the desert into the mountains west of San Felipe. I never knew there were so many varieties of cacti. I was especially taken by the Cardan cactus which can grow 30-60 feet high and weigh 25 tons and live for hundreds of years.

We also hiked into an isolated canyon to a waterfall, feeling slightly courageous in the process. All of this took me back to my boyhood fantasy life where Westerns were my favorite diversion.

In spite of a fairly busy schedule of sightseeing, I had significant time for prayer and reflection. God did speak and we were refreshed.

We are so grateful to Robin and Jeremy Pickens for hosting us and arranging for this wonderful trip.

So tonight we take the red eye flight to Baltimore. We are thankful for this trip and we are thankful for the people and challenges and possibilities we will face tomorrow.

Many Are Called Few Are Chosen

I did not know till today that I may have a desire to race in the Baja 1000. This 4 day, 800 mile off road race across the desert in Baja, Mexico, is considered the world’s most difficult and dangerous off road race. Yet it draws teams from around the world.

“Baja California, Mexico, is a legendary peninsula that has some of the most beautiful coastline, mountains, valleys, and vistas of anyplace on Earth. It is also a playground for some of the most wealthy and adventurous people in the world who love to test their physical endurance and technical ability in the Baja 1000.”

Ruth and I are taking a week of vacation exploring the Baja peninsula with friends, Jeremy and Robin Pickens and son Elijah age 5. The Pickens who are living with us temporarily are now hosting us in their home on the peninsula.

This morning at our hotel In the desert I unexpectedly learned about the Baja 1000 from a fellow guest who will race the grey vehicle in the background of this picture. He will be racing the night section of the 800 mile race.

He and his partner will race at 80 to 100 miles an hour or more through the desert night. There are 45 people on his team who will man the pit stops and other associated tasks to assist the racers. This gentleman came down from California four days ago. He has driven his 200 mile section of the course every day of the past four days in preparation for his big race tonight. Now he is ready.

He expects to do his section in 3 1/2 hours. ( The winning team will likely complete the entire race in around 25 hours.) His vehicle will be connected with a satellite and a team of people communicating with him and his navigator driving partner as they drive furiously through the night with 300 fellow contestants, everyone determined to finish first.

The truck in the foreground is the one he used for the four-day pre-run. The gray truck in the background is the one he will use for the race. This state of the art racing vehicle ( likely costing 100s of thousands of dollars) gets two miles per gallon from its 900 horsepower engine. It has amazing shock absorbers to take the off-road beating it will receive tonight.

But in spite of all I have said above I am still pondering my own unexpected fascination with the Baja 1000.

Yes, I guess it has something to do with the spiritual parallels to the Christian race in which we are engaged:

Many are called but few are chosen. Many are interested but few are willing to pay the price to enter and complete the race.

Those who win must prepare themselves.

No one wins alone; it is a team effort.

Running the race requires staying in continual satellite contact with those who can see the big picture as well as the road ahead.

Running the race requires expecting the unexpected. The race course is not fenced in. It goes through the living space of man and animals which can provide intentional and unintentional hazards.

Winning requires continually analyzing and dealing with your weaknesses.

Winning requires never giving up. If we fail this year we will win next year.

Running the race becomes a lifestyle. All of life becomes centered around the race.

No, in case you were wondering, I do not plan to enter the Baja 1000. For I am consumed by a greater race.

“Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!

All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.

So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should.

Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.”
‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭9:24-27‬ ‭NLT‬‬

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