Just Add Water

My daughters would get these little color change books to draw in. They were like coloring books, but you would simply add water to a brush and “paint” in the book. Suddenly, the colors would come to life! Beautiful, vibrant colors would now show up where there was nothing but dull paper before. All it took was the water.

When a believer in Jesus Christ gets baptized, it may seem simple enough. A person gets dunked in water. Then what?

Baptism is an outward showing of an inward commitment. The Bible says that when you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you are “born again” into a new, eternal life. Just as we pass through water during our natural birth, we must pass through the waters of our supernatural birth as well. It may not make sense to non-believers. Sometimes it doesn’t even make sense to us, the ones actually getting baptized.

It doesn’t have to make sense. The Bible says that this is all foolishness to people who are dying, but to us, it’s the power of God for our salvation. I don’t need to know how electricity works to turn on a lightbulb, I just need that light to shine my way through the darkness.

My children didn’t know how the colors on their book would just come to life, they just knew that when they used the water on the paper, their picture would eventually come into a new, brilliant view. That same thing happens when new believers are baptized. Things don’t just get great and wonderful immediately. You don’t suddenly see Jesus in everything, but it’s a start.

Through baptism, your sins get washed away form your soul, much like dirt is washed away from your body during a bath. Someone who is very dirty will look and feel completely different after a bath. They’ll know it and see it, whereas if you didn’t think that you had a lot of dirt on you to begin with, you may not recognize much difference after getting out of the bathtub. The trick is that we all have a lot of dirt on our souls, we may just not recognize it very well.

At my baptism, it was like I stepped through a doorway into Heaven itself. I felt joyful and almost launched out of the water!  But when I came home, I looked just the same as before. I kept making many of the same mistakes. My favorite sins were still hard to stay away from. I outwardly looked like I did before, but inside I felt like something had happened. I didn’t see the whole extent of it immediately, but day after day, I started to come closer to the Jesus that made my salvation possible.

The colors started to show out more in my life. I made conscious efforts to be more kind and helpful. I started to at least try and do better. I felt like I wanted to stay clean and finally felt like that was possible. That doesn’t mean I didn’t still mess up, it just meant that I recognized it when I did and even stopped sometimes before I could. It has been a long process and that process is not over. It won’t be over until the day I pass from here to eternity. However, I do have the complete assurance from God Himself that I will be going to Heaven. He promised.

Jesus paid for my sin on the cross. When I was baptized, it showed the world that I let Him have it. Since then, God’s brilliant colors have started to shine forth more and more in my life. No more of the sad and dull greys of this world. My picture is starting to come together for people to see, and what they see in my life is a picture of Jesus Christ. That’s the greatest picture of all.

Your life can shine forth the colors of Jesus Christ as well. Just add water!

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Jesus Christ Needs You

Each of us are a unique blessing to this world. The Bible says we are unrepeatable, fearfully and wonderfully made. There aren’t even two sets of fingerprints alike, even among identical twins.

If we are so special, why do we let ourselves get caught up in daily drama and the so-called rat race? Aren’t we meant for more than a hum-drum life that doesn’t amount to anything?

The Bible says that you are God’s masterpiece and that you are fearfully and wonderfully made. The same creator of the universe created each of us. It wasn’t by some chance or some cosmic ‘oops’, but purposeful. You are here for a glorious reason. That reason, in a single word, is love.

Jesus loves you! All of your goods and bads, all of your wins and losses, all of you is loved completely. It’s so hard for us to forget that or to dismiss it, especially in the face of what goes on in this world.

This world is full of hard knocks, full of hate and disgust. That’s all the more reason why you must keep the love of Jesus Christ in your heart, so that it may be poured out upon this sick and sinful world.

This hurting world needs hope. It needs to know that the suffering is not for nothing. God ensures that nothing you go through will be wasted. God will use it all.

If you have gone through such things as drug or alcohol abuse, then you are specially equipped to be able to witness to someone about the dangers and evils of drugs or alcohol abuse. If you know what it’s like to be homeless, then you are well-abled to lift up the spirits of the homeless and to truly help them because you know that their needs are not just physical, but emotional and mental as well.

Do not let this life take you away from your true calling. When you look at yourself in the mirror, remember that God has a plan and that it involves you. You are meaningful. You are special. Nobody is equipped to do the things that God has in store for you. So don’t let an angry boss or a bad day in traffic steal away Christ’s message from your heart. That message needs to be spread to everyone.

The Bible tells about a time when Jesus was coming into Jerusalem. He needed transportation, so he sent his disciples to get a donkey from town. Jesus said to them, “If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” (Luke 19:31).

Jesus needs you and I to bring Him to our families, our businesses, our friendships, and our entire world.

You are called to share the love of Jesus Christ. When this world ties your soul down, away from it’s true calling, just look at yourself in the mirror and say, “The Lord has need of you.”

You are redeemed by His blood on the cross to share the love of Jesus Christ. That’s something we all have need of.

God’s blessings to you!

DH

Prayer and What It Can Do in My Life

Prayer is the most important thing you will ever do in your life. As children, we learn things by listening to our parents and asking clarifying questions. We see them and talk to them because we have a close, personal relationship with them.

We as children of the Most High God need to engage in a daily conversation with our Heavenly Father. Prayer is a dialogue where we bring our praise and petitions to our Father, but we spend time together with Him in a relationship. That relationship then fosters good, true, and righteous fruit in our lives.

There are a few things to remember about our prayer life:

First off, the Bible says we must seek the Lord. Frequently the Gospels say that Jesus prayed to his Father. How did He do it? Jesus would seek out a place that was appropriate for praying. Then, He dedicated a significant amount of time to that prayer. The Bible says that Jesus even climbed mountains in order to spend an entire night in prayer. That dialogue was so important to Him that He would go to great lengths to just be still with His Father.

“Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12) That is just one of many instances you’ll find in the Bible about Jesus being active in His prayer-life.

The second thing to remember is that the peace you have with God is no less than the amount of time spent with Him. No time with God equals no peace in your life.

When there was an important decision to be made, Jesus would spend hat much more time consulting His Father to know His will. He does not improvise, even though Jesus is God and knows all things. He spent time in prayer to show us the way we should take. Even when calling His twelve apostles which means ‘sent ones,’ He spent time praying deeply before doing so.

Let that be a comfort that when Jesus calls me to do a special mission for his Kingdom, He also ensures that it accords with the eternal plan of the Father.

Thirdly, the more time we spend with our Heavenly Father, the better conduits of His grace we can become.

The Bible says that having spent the night in prayer, Jesus prepared to give generously of Himself the following day. United to the Father, the power source of all good, Jesus’ actions channel this goodness towards those who are enslaved by evil or in need of healing.

Once again, in that Devine mystery, Jesus is God. He has that Godly power in Himself and in His own right. However, Jesus wants to give me an example of how to be a United to the Father. We are to be branches of the vine in order to produce fruit that will last.

By their fruits, you shall know them Jesus said. Are your fruits showing the world that you are a representative of Jesus Christ?

Today, if you are already a Christian, God wishes you to be with Him not just in Heaven, but in a daily walk. God loves you and only asks for your love in return. He asks for a relationship.

If you haven’t given your life to Jesus Christ, please do so. Through His blood shed upon the cross, we have been given the opportunity to live eternally with Him, no longer bound by the evil of this world. The Bible says that you have been made into a new creation. No longer a slave to pain and punishment. You have been made free. Accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and take hold of that freedom.

Come to God in prayer and see just what a solid relationship with Jesus Christ can do.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Living Your Breakthrough Life

How long have you been waiting for your breakthrough? How many days, months, or years has it been since you first wished for something better?

The Bible is filled with people just like you who were just passing the time rather than truly living.

For instance, while away from his people who were slaves in Egypt, Moses made a simple life for himself as a shepherd. He had a wife and a son and lived by simple means.

Moses probably woke up the morning of the burning bush incident thinking it’s just another day in the desert. In fact, after that many years, he might have even been depressed and thought there’s no hope of a future. Perhaps saying something like, “This is the day that defines who I am and where I’m going to end up for the rest of my life.” Little did he realize that he would’ve been right.

That day changed Moses’ life forever. He had an encounter with God that pushed him into his calling. The future opened up to him because he connected with the Almighty. That day sent him on a path that would write his name in history. No longer the lowly shepherd, but now the leader of a nation.

So that’s one example, how about another? Take Gideon, the self proclaimed weakest person in the weakest tribe. As he was going about his chores for the day, an encounter with the angel of the Lord changed his path. That weakest person was called mighty by the Almighty and placed in charge of the Lord’s army. His victory was legendary.

You want more examples? How about Peter and his brother Andrew. James and John as well. All fishermen doing what they do, day in and day out. And then Jesus Christ walks by.

Matthew, a despised tax collector who probably lived every day of his life depressed. A known sinner that was commonly hated by his countrymen. But then Jesus calls his name.

So many other names, both Old and New Testament, share in those stories. Stories of simple, monotonous lives until God shows up in a big way.

What I’m saying is that all it takes is a little push by God’s big hand. That’s enough to thrust you into your breakthroughs in life.

If you feel like this is just another day and you’re in a low point in your life, please take heart. God is waiting for the right time in His plan. He’s watching you being faithful in the small things so that He can trust you with the big things, just like the Bible says.

Just another day like today could become THE day.

The Bible says that eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor has entered into the heart of man what God has prepared for those who love Him. Let that motivate you to stay faithful to God through Jesus Christ.

Jesus died for you on the cross so that you could live for God. Live in peace and in assurance that there is more to life than just what you see right now. No matter your circumstances right now, God has got something wonderful for you as long as you remain in faith.

Don’t lose heart. Remain faithful, putting your heart into everything you do, especially if it seems little or insignificant. Like the Bible says, let all you do be done as if it were done for God.

You don’t have to be great to do things with great love and faith. Do your best and do it with love for your Father in Heaven because He loves you. Today could be the day that He brings you into that breakthrough life He has promised. Stay faithful.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

When God Forgives But You Can’t Forgive Yourself

What sin can’t God forgive? In truth, He can do anything. He’s God. If you come to Him in repentance, He loves you and will take those sins away. Just as the prophet Isaiah says, the Lord will forgive and blot out your sins and he will remember the no more. You must give Him the chance to do it though.

The problem is that we often don’t forgive ourselves. We keep harboring those memories of sin and pain and the wrong that we have done even after God has blotted them out. Not to add more guilt to you, but you are in essence fighting against God at that point. He has forgotten your sin but you keep bringing them up.

Much like a nail in a board, the nail gets removed but the hole still remains. That’s the way our sin is. The sin is forgiven but there’s always some consequence of it even if that consequence is strictly your own guilt. With time, the Holy Spirit helps to fill in that hole.

So what if family or friends or others don’t let you forget about that sin? What if they don’t forgive you?

If they are Christians, they are commanded to forgive. Otherwise, they had better never pray the Lord‘s prayer again. “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” Matthew 6:12.

Have you forgiven others? Have you held your forgiveness from anyone?

The Bible says that the devil is the accuser. If you have anyone, maybe in your own family or even fellow Christians, that accuse you and do not forgive you of your past sins, then that is by definition the work of the devil.

The point is that if you have repented and truly tried to change you mind and direction, then they must show forgiveness. They must show love. Just as the gospels say, how often should I forgive my brother? Perhaps seven times?

Jesus said don’t forgive just seven times, but 70 times 7. That doesn’t mean just 490 times, that is actually to stand for a number perfectly perfect, eternal.

We have been forgiven for so much more than what we could ever think of. We’ve been forgiven of the sins that we’ve asked forgiveness for, sins we’ve forgotten about, and even sins we didn’t know were sins.

Jesus paid it all on the cross. If we love Him and accept His sacrifice, we are forgiven. The Bible says peace comes from the Lord. Now you must allow yourself to experience that peace.

Know that Christ has forgiven you and let other know that too. We all need to hear it more often.

Start living for Him the best you can. Know that you are made righteous by God through Jesus Christ. You are forgiven, now forgive yourself. Go and do better knowing that you are fully loved and fully accepted by God.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Truly Free

The fourth of July, when America celebrates freedom and independence. It’s a time where each one of us needs to take a close look at all of the liberties that we enjoy. We realize that freedom isn’t free. It is bought and paid for by the blood of someone willing to fight and die for you and I.

The same thing goes for our eternal souls. You and I are sinners who have turned ourselves over willingly to our greed and lusts. We just can’t seem to keep away from sin. And it’s too tough a battle for ourselves. However, you aren’t alone in this fight.

Jesus Christ, God in a man, was born of the Virgin Mary, lived the sinless life that you an I can’t, but chose to take the punishment for sin that we can’t pay for ourselves.

Jesus was nailed to a cross and died to take our sins away. But to prove that death had not power over Him, He was raised from the dead.

Your freedom has been bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, shed for our sakes upon the cross. Our sinful ways required payment and God wouldn’t be pure and just if He forgot about our sins. That being said, He loves His children too much to let us be lost for eternity. We needed a Savior. We needed freedom.

Our sins died that day and with Christ, and with Him we are born again. We were set free from our slavery to sin and evil. In dying, He destroyed our death. And in rising, He restored our life.

To get this gift of eternal life, accept that payment on the cross. Accept Jesus Christ as your savior. Just like any gift, it’s offered but you still need to reach out and take it.

I’m pleading with you now to take the gift of life, love, and peace that God wants you to have.

Let this day and all others be a day that you and I celebrate our independence. We have been set free from sin so that we can lead a good and righteous life that our Heavenly Father wants for us.

There was a cost for our freedom and it was the blood of Jesus Christ. Never forget that He loves you and He believes that your freedom from sin was worth dying for.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Whosoever

For years I felt disconnected from the Bible, as if it was good, but just didn’t speak to me personally. Sure, I believed in God, but I didn’t really understand what the big deal was. I didn’t get much out of church (if and when I actually went) and I just felt like I had more important things to do in my life.

Then, God pointed out to me the word “whosoever” in the Bible.

You’ll find the word whosoever used many times in the Bible. That word means everyone and includes you and I. Do yourself a huge favor. Cross out that word in your Bible and write your own name above it. When you do that, the Bible takes on a whole new meaning.

Salvation is for the many, but first it’s for the one. Being saved is personal. It’s for you and for us all.

“Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13) See that whosoever there? Put your name there. [Your Name] calls upon the name of the Lord [and] shall be saved.” That’s right, you can be saved from all of your sin and all the bad things in your life.

Try some other places now. For instance, “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” (1 John 4:15) If you personally confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God Himself will live in you and you I’m God. That statement is so fantastic just to think about God being with you constantly. The God who created all things loving you and empowering you to do wonderful works. His life force is for you and for your benefit if you simply call to Him and follow His Son Jesus.

Warning: This is only for people who really want peace and desire to do better in their lives. You see, that word whosoever is also placed as a reminder to stay on the right path. Just as in John 8:34, when Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever commits sin is the servant of sin.”

Is that you? Are you on that side of the whosoever? You don’t have to be.

You can be free of those sins. You can break the chains of that sin through the cross of Jesus Christ. You don’t have to be weighted down by the pain and guilt of sin any longer.

You can be a part of one of the most famous ‘whosoever’ in the Bible. John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Jesus paid the price in His own blood upon the cross. He paid the penalty for sin so you and I don’t have to. Believe in the Son of God and you shall be saved. Accept His payment for your sin and be free. Turn away from your old life; be loosed from it. Then you will find peace and blessing like you’ve never known before.

“For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” – Luke 9:24

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ

One of the last words Jesus said while he was physically here was for us to go into the world and make disciples. Known as the Great Commission, it is a command from our Creator to preach the gospel to all people. Why is this so important?  Because all people struggle with sin.

The Bible says that we all sin and fall short of God’s glory, but Jesus offers us forgiveness through His finished work on the cross. Through His life, death, burial, and resurrection, we are offered the free gift of eternal life in Heaven. This is the Good News or Gospel. There’s nothing more important than this.

So why is it so hard to talk about this with strangers?  Why is it even harder to share the Gospel with friends, coworkers, and especially family?  How do you do it right?

First off, understand that many people don’t want to think about change. We naturally find a comfort zone that we live in. Anything that interferes with that comfort is an enemy, even if we have found comfort in pain.

When we are challenged by the gospel of Jesus Christ, it provokes us to do something. Once you learn something, you can’t unknow it, you must deal with it somehow. Knowing that Jesus is Lord and Savior changes our game. You must accept it or reject it, knowing that there are consequences either way. You WILL lose something of yourself when you choose, either you need to turn away from your sins or you turn away from your Creator and any hope for a Heaven.

While that sounds like a simple choice, it isn’t. There will never be a more important one though. It’s something that people have a tough time with due to what the Bible calls a sin that so easily besets us. We all have struggles with sins that harass ourselves. It is so much easier just to give in, but Jesus says that the road to hell is wide and there are many who travel it. It is a much harder road we travel when we do what’s right.

That statement is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike. Sin is not something that just goes away when we accept Christ. The stain of sin is blotted out, but the cravings remain in many cases. Just like a nail in a board, you can remove the nail, but there will be a hole that needs filled.

When we try to share the gospel, the devil attacks us, bringing the memory of our sins to mind. We think to ourselves that we are not worthy because we, too, are sinners. That uneasiness translates into a barrier to sharing the good news of Jesus. We get concerned that we might offend someone or cause a fight. We get concerned because what if they ask a question that I can’t answer about Jesus or Christianity? What if they ask about my own sins?

We relate a rejection of the gospel to a rejection of ourselves, and humans have a hard time with rejection. This is especially true when it pertains to sharing the gospel with family members. We can talk effortlessly with our family, but if you become a believer in Jesus, you suddenly stand out. You’ve changed. You’re not the same old person they knew and now on top of that, you maybe come off somewhat hypocritically. “Who is this person telling me to turn from their sins? Do they think we’ll forget all the stuff they did?”

Don’t ever let your own insecurities get between a soul and Jesus Christ!

Jesus takes the old and broken, then makes it new. That works to our advantage, because who better than a former alcoholic, for instance, to tell people of the dangers of alcohol abuse? You can trust a witness who has faced the problem and lived through it. Jesus healed you and He can do the same for anyone.

If you love your family members, you want healing for them. You would rush to tell your family member to seek medical treatment if they had cancer or something wrong, so why not the Good News of Jesus as well? Through sin, a member of your family is running headlong off a cliff. Don’t just tell them, scream it at them! They are family, so don’t stop unless they are safe.

Also, and here is a significant point, as a human being we all have a common creator. That makes all people of all races and creeds our family. Jesus died for all people to take their sins away. Jesus is for the whole world. God is our Creator and our Heavenly Father.

Understand that just as a sculptor or artist signs their work, you and I bear the marks of our creator. We have a God-sized hole in ourselves that can only be filled with Jesus Christ. We try to fill our lives with all kinds of excitement, sex, drug and alcohol, or even food, but we can’t consume enough of what we think is “the good stuff” to fill that hole inside. We need Jesus. He truly is “the good stuff” that our bodies, minds, and souls crave.

We need His Holy Spirit to take up residence within ourselves, because nothing else will do. When you realize that fact, it becomes easier to share the gospel with others, knowing that they need Jesus worse than they need water. The Bible says that Jesus is living water and whoever drinks of that water will never truly thirst. Indeed, the water He gives us becomes in us a spring of water welling up to eternal life. People need that eternal life, so don’t deny them their Jesus.

There’s an old saying that goes “the truth sells itself.” Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life. As a born-again Christian, you always have Him, the truth, with you. That truth is the only way to Heaven and eternal happiness. That is a pearl of great price. Who wouldn’t gladly receive such a huge gift?

The Bible says don’t worry about what to say, because the Holy Spirit will speak for you. The words you will use when sharing the gospel are not your words at all, they are God’s words. When the time comes, just open your mouth and start talking. Plant the seed knowing that God will give the increase. I’ve shared Jesus with a lot of people, but I’ve never saved anyone’s soul. That’s not something you or I can do, but God alone. So, share Jesus with everyone you can.

In short, we are to be disciples making disciples. And on that glorious day when time gives way to eternity, you will walk into the throne room of Heaven, see some of those same faces gathered there, and our precious Lord will say, “Well done! Well done, my good and faithful servant. Now at last, enter into the joy of your Master’s house.”

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Know the Will of God in Your Life

Many times in the scriptures we read about the Lord speaking to someone. The problem is that nowadays, we don’t much physically hear God speak to us. That really worries some people.

There are those people who say that until they physically hear God speaking to them, they won’t believe. Unfortunately, those type of people probably still wouldn’t believe even if God himself showed up in person and smacked them in the face.

On the other hand, there are other people that wish they could physically hear their Lord’s voice, but don’t. They long for that tangible interaction with their Savior, but they may never find it until they meet Him in Heaven.

I personally have never physically heard my Lord out loud in this big, booming “Moses” burining bush voice. I do, however, talk with Him often and He answers me plainly. Occasionally, I hear a still, quiet voice inside of myself and it leads me in a certain direction. Many times, I would not have entertained that particular direction in and of myself.

That’s the beauty of the Lord. If you truly leave yourself open to Him and His ways, you could end up accomplishing things you’d never thought possible.

Still, other times there are answers to my prayers and petitions that come in the form of solutions to problems. Solutions that were choreographed just too well. Things that were out of human control or comprehension.

The perfect example of this is our own twin daughters having an inescapable pre-natal problem that was resolved miraculously. I did not truly know what fervent prayer was until those weeks of angush and suffering. Our hope rested in Jesus and Him alone, because we didn’t have anything else.

It is a long story for another time, but I am overjoyed to say that Christ showed His miraculous self and we have beautiful children to stand as living embodiments of His grace and love. You may call it luck or coincidence, but I know that I heard my God as plain as day. I heard Him and saw His love.

The point I’m trying to make is that the more time you spend with our Lord, the closer you will be to Him. And the closer you are, the better you will distingush His answers to your questions. You will know His direction and you couldn’t help but take the path He chooses for you.

When you love someone, you try to know all you can about that person. You don’t just hear them speak, you listen to them. That’s a big measure of a Christian. You may not physically hear God’s voice, but you don’t have to. The more you spend time in His word and the more you pray, the easier it is to see and hear what He has to say. You will know when God is pulling you in a certain direction.

I hear people say, “How do I know that’s what God wants for my life?” You will know when God is answering your prayers or telling you to move in a certain direction with your life because of two things:

1. The direction will never go against God’s commandments.

2. The direction will be for the benefit of God’s people and not only yourself.

If you are confused about your life or not sure if God is speaking to you or not, spend time getting to know Him better. If you can’t find it in yourself to pray, then ask God to help you pray. Pray about praying. It sounds simple, but it’s true.

Next thing is to spend time connecting to God through His word. If you start your day with a “holy hour” with even just 15-20 minutes set aside for Jesus with no distractions, you will be better equipped to answer His voice when He calls. And trust that His plan for your life is better than anything you or I could ever come up with.

You can’t give a response to the Lord’s voice if you don’t know He’s talking to you. If you’re confused as to what God’s will is for your life, listen to Him. Truly listen. Spend time reading His word, meditating on it, and make yourself open to what He has in store for you.

You must be “IN” His Will before you can “DO” His will.

“My sheep listen to My voice; I know them, and they follow Me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them out of My hand.” – John 10:27-28

God’s blessings to you.

DH