Happy Easter

“There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:12

Since it is Easter, we are reminded today more than most times of the year that Jesus was crucified and died for our sins. It was horrible for all who looked upon the face of the Jesus hanging there on the cross. It is where we get our word ‘excruciating.’

Many people at that time thought that it was the end of their hope of salvation, but Jesus rose again just a few days later. What started as a miracle birth could have been reduced to just campfire stories had Jesus not risen again after his fall.

That is what made all the difference. Jesus rose again after his death. This life that we know will pass away soon enough, but when we accept Jesus as our Savior and put our trust in Him, we are promised that we shall be raised again with Him. We no longer need to fear death, because our Lord has complete power over death and not the other way around.

Over the years, there’s been many people that have said their way was the answer to life, but they all died; all but one, Jesus. Jesus backed up every claim He made through fulfillment of scripture prophecies as well as the miracles He did. The biggest miracle of all was the empty tomb on Sunday, because in dying He destroyed our death, and in rising He restored our life.

I don’t need a dead savior. I can die on my own just fine, thanks. What I need is the risen savior. I need Jesus Christ.

You and I will fall to our sins, but the real tragedy would be if we didn’t rise again from it. Only one thing separates us from God and keeps us out of heaven and that is our sin. That is why our greatest need is to have our sins forgiven. Only then can we be reconciled to God and have the opportunity to be with Him for all eternity. The Bible says in Acts 4:12, “There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Jesus is the ONLY way.

Happy Easter, my friends. It is not just the resurrection day of our Lord Jesus Christ, but it is the day of our resurrection as well. As He was raised, so shall we be raised with Him forever.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Cast Off Your Hand

“And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” – Matthew 5:30

Temptations abound in this world. You can’t turn on the tv or even drive down the road without being bombarded by beckoning sin. Even the smart phones we hold in our hands create an open doorway for all kinds of evils. What is a good person to do?

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said that if your eye or your hand causes you to stumble, it would be better for you to pluck the eye out or cut off your hand and cast them away rather than to have your souls to end up in Hell.

What Jesus is saying there is not about hurting yourself, it’s about being willing to do whatever it takes to keep your eyes and your mind on Heaven. Aim for your righteousness and it will help yourself and others.

I do say “yourself and others” because you have more power and affect on other people than you realize. There is truly no such thing as a personal sin. Sin hurts and people who think much of you will follow your lead. You will take many souls with you wherever you go, either to eternal peace in Heaven or to eternal death.

Jesus mentioned the right hand for a reason. It is an example of your strong side. For most people, you get the greatest benefit from using your strong hand. That being said, even if something is benefitting you, it may also be what is doing the most damage to you in the long run.

There are many things in this world that are OK to do, but are they leading you somewhere good? Has the Holy Spirit been knocking on your door recently about something? Do you pray? Do you spend time in the scriptures? Do you use your tone wisely to help others?

I like to fish and I enjoy watching TV now and then. A few little relaxing pursuits are OK, but not when they consume my time. Even OK things, lawful things that benefit us, can get in the way of our eternal salvation. Moderation is key in many cases, but some things, even small seemingly insignificant things can take you away from the life God has called you too.

Jesus Christ suffered and died so that you can be free from sin. All of those bad things you’ve done are gone when you accept His payment on the cross. He died and rose again to give you an abundant life not only in Heaven for eternity, but here on Earth as well.

Use your abundance, whether it is food or money or strength or whatever, to help other people. Don’t use your time and earthly pursuits to chase sin. And make no mistake about it, if you are not actively chasing Heaven, you are slipping back down farther towards hell.

Jesus said there are only two roads. There is a wide one with a large gate that’s pointed in the wrong direction. Many people are on that road, heading for destruction. However, there is another road, a straight and narrow path that leads to an eternity of love and peace. Few find that road.

Which one are you on right now?

Once again, I’m not telling you to ACTUALLY cut off your hand. Please don’t! But I am telling you that we must be ready and willing to cut things out of our lives to gain God’s kingdom and blessings. Even if those things in our lives are OK and lawful, maybe they even benefit us sometimes, but if they harm us and cause others to stumble, then those things must be done away with in our lives.

If you do this, God has promised blessings and peace for now and forever. So stay on that straight and narrow path. It’s worth it.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” – Philippians 4:8-9

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Always Wear Coveralls to Work

My dad was an engineer. He would often wear a suit and tie to work back in those days, but I could tell when he was going to be out in the shop that day because he would have a set of coveralls he would bring with him. Those coveralls would protect his regular clothes and even his body from the dirt and grime that the work would bring. He wouldn’t leave home without them. Much can be said for that same attitude in our daily lives.

When we get serious about doing God’s work, we are apt get dirty. This world loves to throw dirt onto anyone trying to better themselves and those around them. When we are leading people toward the light, the darkness beckons us more than ever. We are more easily soiled and tarnished. The devil loves to see people succumb to sin.

Let’s face it, in today’s world, sin is easy to come by. Sometimes it’s even a little fun. That fun quickly turns into pain. The more dirt and sin that’s hurled your direction, the easier it is to become overwhelmed by it and fall.

‘Look out for number one’ and ‘those with the most toys wins’ are common phrases in this all-about-me type of world. If you are kind or thoughtful and you go to extremes to show Christ’s mercy and love to others, you are going to get lured by sin. So much so, in fact, that you will often wonder if it’s all worth it. “If I just spend money on myself and focus on me and my own pleasure, I would be rich and be having fun. Who cares about other people anyway?”

Who cares about people? God does. He loves you and He loves all of His creation. Whether you know it or not, you have the most high God as your Heavenly Father. So do all people, whether they realize it or want to admit it.

God’s plan for our lives is to do our best to take care of one another, from the least to the greatest of us. He loves us all. We are all God’s children. As His children, we are to take care of our brothers and sisters.

Sure, we could write a check when we see that commercial about starving kids in Africa, but God doesn’t just want your money. Truly caring for yours fellow person will involve our heart and soul much more than our wallets.

The apostle Paul said, “I fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ…” Col 1:24. Truly, Jesus lacks nothing. He’s God. What Paul wants to focus on is that he makes present the sufferings of Jesus Christ in order to help others. If it takes suffering and toil to help others prosper here on earth and to gain eternal life with God, that suffering is worth it.

The hard work pays off when you see the dead come to life in Christ. Through His blood on the cross shed to take our sins away, we are allowed eternal life. There’s no more important work in this world than to let others know about that love.

That work is tough. It’s hard and it takes dedication. The kind of dedication that will cause the devil to take notice of you.

Not too many people want to hear about God or salvation. It goes against the here and now approach of this world. They may laugh and scorn you. They may hate you for telling that truth and do all kinds of things against you, even to the point of death in some countries.

You will suffer like Christ suffered. After all, He’s the Master and the servant is no better than their master. You will face all kinds of mud-slinging. However, God loves you and promises that He will protect you.

As the Bible says, “but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31.

God will take care of His children, but you have to stay with Him. The Bible says to put on Christ like a garment (Romans 13:14). Through the power of His Holy Spirit living in and through you, you will do great and wonderful things for people that you never thought possible. You can set this world ablaze with the love of Jesus Christ, healing the sick, lifting the broken hearted, feeding the poor, and so much more than that.

Doing God’s will allows you to prosper in so many ways that truly matter. This world looks for money and fame to gauge prosperity. Those things are passing like dust. The prosperity that truly matters is the crown of gold that is laid up for you in Heaven. That prosperity is forever! It’s hard work, but it’s worth it.

So it is up to you. You can stay clean and safe if you want, or you can truly do the Lord’s work. Yes, you’ll probably do ok here in this life looking out for just yourself. But that all won’t matter when you are faced with the same death that comes to all of us someday. Then what will you have to show for your work?

God wants us to show love and to care for all people the way He cares for and loves us all. That takes work. Be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ, but don’t start that work before putting on the Holy Spirit. In those coveralls, you will be ready and well equipped to take on anything. Your soul will be kept clean of sin and all the dirt of this world.

If you do this, I believe and declare that on that faithful day, when your time here is over, you will step boldly into Heaven and hear Jesus say to you “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Now at last, enter into the joy of the Master’s house.”

God’s blessings to you.

DH

A Christian Church In Action or Just Church Inaction?

Disclaimer: This sermon is going to come off a bit angry.

It is and I Am…

We had a historic freeze in Texas. The entire state was under a winter storm warning because of a large cloud formation dropping ice everywhere. Power went out in most of the state and water pipes were bursting everywhere. A state that never sees that sort of thing just isn’t prepared for such an event.

With that record cold came a record number of people without heat or water. The cities and counties scurried around to open warming centers. The Red Cross and a few other entities were at various places to assist, but there was just too many people who needed warmth, water, and food. I didn’t see an end to the people needing a warm place to be.

However, what I did see was a number of Christian churches with lights and power, but their doors were closed. Christians with the capability to keep potentially hundreds of people warm and out of the elements, but they were sealed up tight.

We were all under hard times, taking care of ourselves and our families as best as we could. And to be fair, maybe a few of the church goers were indeed helping out at soup kitchens or wherever, but what about the church leadership? The pastors and elders?

IT CUT ME TO MY HEART to see so many churches just in our area alone that had lights and power, but doors that were locked to people in need. You can preach Jesus all day long, but if you refuse to do all you can for those in need, then your words mean nothing. Those words are clanging cymbals according to the Bible in 1 Corinthians chapter 13, because your words show absolutely nothing of love. Those supposed “Christians” are only Christian in title, not in action.

You are saved by Jesus through faith in Him. But then, because of that faith, you should show fruits of that faith. The Bible says in James 2:26 “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” There has to be something to show for the Holy Spirit living in your heart, otherwise how is being a Christian different from being anything else, pagan or other?

In short, if you believe in Jesus Christ, you should also take His words seriously when He says to help those in need and to serve others. If you call yourself a Christian, taking care of those in need is not optional.

It makes us feel good to hear about saints in this world like the late Mother Theresa that have done so much good for thousands of people. My question is, what are YOU doing? What exactly is the Christian church doing right now to help the physically poor and the spiritually poor? How about the widows and orphans and everyone in need?

Are you acting out the Jesus Christ in your heart or are you trying to smuggle Him into Heaven without anyone seeing?

If you hear the words, “Someone should really do something”, that someone is you! Yes, God can produce miracles out of nothing, but that’s not how He works. He wants His children to be His hands and feet, taking the love of Jesus Christ to all of those perishing in this world so that they may live forever and have a blessed and abundant life right now.

This is not to give you a warm and fuzzy feeling and it’s not to make people see how good of a person you are. It’s all about God and His glory. “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. I stress the part about “your good works.”

What are you doing?

You and I are to make God’s love alive and touch all people, not just those in our own denomination or neighborhood. Jesus said to go into ALL the world and be His witnesses. We have to preach the Good News that God loves all people, but if we can’t even open our doors and hearts to those suffering in the cold, then we need to get our priorities straight.

God first, everyone else second, and you last!

If being a Christian to you means dressing up and “playing Christian” on Sundays, then keep the doors shut. You are completely disrespecting our Heavenly Father and doing nothing in response to His love. Maybe because it’s just so inconvenient to our modern lives or maybe because nobody told us about the real Jesus Christ, only the fluffy happy Jesus who wants you rich and comfortable.

That’s not Jesus. Jesus died on a cross for our sins. We are now to die to ourselves and live for Him. No more of what we want, but what God’s children need. If that sounds a bit harsh, then tough.

Mount the cross, Christian! As the Master goes, so goes the servant. Jesus cared for the poor and healed the sick. He showed love, true Godly love. So what are YOU and your church doing?

As the scriptures say, zeal for my Father’s house has consumed me. May it consume you too.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Science and Sola Scriptura – Since You Asked Q.6

Question: If Protestants believe in Sola Scriptura which means follow the Bible only, how can Protestantism explain stuff like Gravity and Physics? That stuff isn’t in the Bible. Please help.

To answer this, understand that true science and true holy scripture will connect. It is all from God, the one Creator, so true science will not contradict the Bible. I do say “true science” because there are many things in today’s world that passes itself off as science, but really is hokey nonsense.

However, from a scientific standpoint, there are many theories that either stand because it is true or stand because we haven’t gone far enough to find the next thing in the linear series of human discovery.

Take gravity for instance. Yes, it is not called out directly in the Bible, but things like Goliath falling after being hit by a rock shows that gravity exists. Other things, such as the dinosaurs, aren’t called out in the Bible text. However, inference made from a well formed conscience tells us that dinosaurs and the creation narrative can indeed square up as true because of God’s transcending of time. The Bible says in 2 Peter that a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years is like a day to God.

We look to the Bible for our way of living and interacting with God and man. Science is one of the ways that God has chosen to reveal certain aspects of our world to us, just like the scriptures. That being said, when science tries to contradict scripture, don’t be too quick to throw one away for the other. In those cases, our scientific observations have not caught up with the real truth yet. Jesus is the truth and revealed himself as such. If something contradicts the teaching of Jesus Christ, then one has to be wrong, and God is not wrong.

If you see a book, you may deduce that there was a creator behind it who wrote that book. When you see things like DNA strands that contain billions of gigabytes of information, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that there must be an intelligent Creator God behind that creation. And that’s just one creation!

The natural world is all from the Lord’s own creativity. The masterpiece bears the soul of the artist.

Romans 1:19-20 “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse.”

Keep searching for the truth. True science shall lead back to our Heavenly Creator.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

This Guy is a Complete Tool

I remember a friend of mine worked at a video store (for you youngsters in the crowd, we had VHS tapes that you could rent back in the days before the internet was really a thing). I had browsed and found a couple of movies to rent. When I went to check out, it turns out that my friend had wrote something into the comments section of my rental file. Specifically, he wrote, “This guy is a complete tool.” To which, when the lady at the counter read this, she chuckled almost uncontrollably. We talked about it and had a good laugh together.

Fast forward a couple of decades later to my dad’s funeral. I had just finished delivering the final benediction at the gravesite and we were all leaving. One of the funeral directors looked at me and said, “You are a really good preacher.” To which I replied, “Thanks. I’m just grateful to be a tool for the Master to use.” This just came out of my mouth, not for some false humility, but I was honestly happy to be there in that capacity that day. I was sad for my dad’s death, but honored to preach God’s Word at such an important time in my family’s lives.

I look back and realize what was being said in both instances. In one sense of the word ‘tool’, I was being called something derogatory and not worthy of any recognition. In the second use of the word, there was a recognition, but it was being passed from myself to the one who was using the tool. In one sense it was a negative, in the other sense it was a positive. What changed was who used the tool and what the tool was being used for.

You and I are both a certain type of tool. We may not be used in the same ways and at the same times, but we are all going to be used for a purpose. The difference is who is using us. We can either use ourselves for the wrong purposes or we can let go and allow God to use us to create something wonderful.

I have a toolbox with hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches. Why do I need all of those? I need the right tool for the right job. A hammer shouldn’t be used to turn a bolt or you will quickly end up with something ruined. Just like that tool scenario, your experiences and talents enable you to handle certain situations better than other people.

In short, nothing you’ve been through in your life will be for nothing. All of the experiences have made you into what you are today. The good and the bad that you’ve gone through over the years will be used for God’s glory, if you just make yourself available for Him to use.

I have an old hammer that belonged to my grandad. It’s been plenty used and It’s worth noting that the head had come loose years ago. The wooden handle broke a bit, but my dad was able to fix it well. Now, I use it and like using it because it is still just as solid and trustworthy as when it was first made.

Was that hammer broken, yes, but that wasn’t the end of the story. The owner fixed it. It was better than ever and became the centerpiece of his toolbox.

You and I may be a bit broken from the trials of life, but are you ready to heal? God is ready to make that happen. You’re worth it to Him. The Bible says that you are God’s masterpiece. You are very special to Him. He loves you and wants to help you experience your best.

You are useful and this world needs you. However, you need to be made available for God to use. Our sin will keep us from our calling, but through the life, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are released from our sin. His blood on the cross frees us and makes us capable to do great and wonderful things for Him and our fellow people.

When we accept Jesus Christ, we are healed of our brokenness. You have talents and skills that can be used to help so many people in this world. The difference happens when you let go and you put yourself into God’s hands. Don’t be afraid of being a tool for Him to use. Who better than the Master Craftsman to know how best to utilize you and to take care of you?

Yes, I am a complete tool. Proud of it in fact. We are all tools. So what will you be used for?

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Is There a God?

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”- John 3:16

Do you know God? Do you even believe there is a God? Maybe you were once a believer because of your parents, but now you’re just not so sure?

The Bible says that the the heavens proclaim the glory of God and the skies display his craftsmanship. They speak without a word, but they make God’s presence known. You have to be willing to look rather than just give a passing glance.

This world is not an accident, just as an explosion in a junkyard wouldn’t accidentally make a jet plane. You can look at a building and know for certain there was a builder, even though you didn’t see it being built. And what about you? You are thinking with a brain and feeling emotions with a soul that was carefully and wonderfully made.

Need more proof? Have you ever seen the Disney movie Toy Story? The main characters find happiness and meaning in their lives through interactions with their owner, who cares about them so much that he (Andy) has written his name on the soles of their feet.

We have a Creator God who has written His name in our souls. We find meaning and happiness when we are interacting with God, because it is what our hearts long for. Like Saint Augustine said, our hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord. To put it into simple terms, we have a God sized hole that can only be filled by Him.

There has never been a culture or people found in the world, not even in the deepest parts of the jungle or desert, that doesn’t believe in some sort of higher power or deity. Our entire human race searches for its meaning outside of itself. We instinctively know that there is much more to life and existence than what we can find in and of ourselves.

So which is the right path? There are so many religions to choose from, and if I don’t like any of those, you can make up your own nowadays. However, even all of the world’s major religions are simply shadows of the real thing. At man’s best guess, all we can come up with is to do good, avoid evil, and seek the meaning to life and the afterlife.

What is good, or at least what is good enough? Man thinks he can work his way to Heaven. God says that only perfection gets in there and we are definitely not perfect. All of the major religions in the world say if you work hard enough and do enough good, things will be better someday. Maybe the next life or maybe a few more after that, you never know.

Unfortunately, there’s no way we can be good enough to work our way into a perfect afterlife, but there’s one thing that you need to know more than anything else. God loves you! He made you and He loves you just the way you just the way you are. He knows you can’t work enough or do enough good to earn Heaven. So God chose to bless and take care of His children just as any good father would. Although we deserve punishment for our bad choices, God said that He would pay the penalty.

God revealed Himself in the life and works of Jesus Christ. Born of a virgin, He lived the sinless life you and I can’t. But He still took the punishment and even the death upon the cross that you and I couldn’t. He did it so we could be forgiven of our debts, our sins. The punishment was paid in full so we could be set free of our evil and imperfections. Because of that, we can be allowed entry into Heaven for all of eternity. It is a free gift called grace. Just as any gift must be accepted, we must accept Jesus and His payment for our sins. Our God, our Creator, wants us to be with Him forever, but He won’t force it on us. It is a gift that can be accepted or rejected.

That in itself shows a mind and a plan to existence. Not because of random happenstance. Not because of us working our way to perfection, which would never happen. No. We are saved only because of Jesus Christ. Love: demonstrated.

God, our Creator, has a plan and it includes you because He loves you. Love is not some random accident, it’s purposeful. Love demonstrates a knowing and caring entity. That’s how I know there’s a God, because when I walk with Him and do His will, I feel His love and I’m able to share that love with others. God is love.

Is there a God? Undeniably, absolutely, YES!

God’s blessings to you!

DH

The Reason for the Season

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Luke 2:11

When the world needed peace, Jesus Christ was born. At a time when things didn’t seem that they could get any worse, Jesus arrived. When people were scared, angry, self-absorbed, and looking to the wrong things to bring themselves happiness, God arrived on Earth.

By all rights, this description sounds a lot like 2020. Wars and rumors of wars, protests and infighting at every level, and a pandemic that has affected the world. Nothing about this year was easy or occurred by any of our supposed plans.

We need peace, we need complete love, and we need hope for the future. In short, we need Jesus. Now more than ever, we need The Savior. We need Jesus Christ for n our lives and in our hearts. He is the only way to where we need to be.

Whether you believe in Him or not, Jesus Christ has changed the world forever. Our common year is based off of the life of Jesus Christ. Even if some people changed the acronym, it’s still before Christ’s birth and after. Phrases we use every day, such as “Go the extra mile,” “blind leading the blind,” “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” or “straight and narrow” are all words straight from Christ’s mouth. This whole time of year especially is because of Jesus. You can say happy holidays all you want, but the truth of the matter is that Christ is the reason for the season.

Even in places that are cynical of Christian values, I have heard Christmas music playing. Take the time to listen to those songs. Those are songs of praise and worship and they are being played all over the place and even all over the world this time of year.

To paraphrase the book of Acts, if this whole Jesus thing was just of men, it would turn to nothing. However, if this really is of God, there’s nothing in this world that can stop it. It’s been over two thousand years since the birth of Jesus and there is no silencing the believer, no matter what heretical laws are passed and no matter how politically correct this country becomes.

Why is that? Because the person who has been forgiven of much shows the most love for the Lord. I have been forgiven of many wrongs in my life and, if by chance I am ever rendered mute, my actions and my very soul would still sing out in praise of the God Most High.

That’s why there was a bright and shining star that showed the way to Christ’s crib that fateful night. Even the universe showed praise to the Creator with a glow that could never be equaled. That shining star stood for peace and hope to the ones in need of a savior. It also stood as a warning light to those who thought they were doing fine by their own ways. It was a green light to love and a red light to evil.

So please remember this time of year, Christmas time. Praise Jesus for His wonderful life and His death upon the cross for our sins. A believer’s future is sealed by complete and boundless love and it all started because a star was born and His name is Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas and God’s blessings to you.

DH

You Are The Key

“I am the living one. I died, but look–I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and the grave.” – Revelation 1:18 NLT

Aren’t keys funny little things? They are small jagged pieces of metal, but when they are used for their maker’s purpose, there’s nothing else that would do the trick. If the key was rounded or smooth, it would be useless and wouldn’t work where it was needed.

My family would tell you that I can be a little rough around the edges. I am far from perfect, but I am just as useful to God when I allow myself to be fully utilized by Him. Even a broken paintbrush could be used to make a beautiful painting in a master’s hands. The brush just has to be available. Unfortunately, I allow my brokenness to take me out of commission now and then through sin. When I engage in the bad things, I don’t allow myself to be used for good.

God wants us to be instruments of good here on earth. He wants the best out of us because in His eyes, we are worth it. We are His children, and even when we are not exactly at our best, He still looks at us and says, “This is my beloved child, in whom I am well pleased.” How can God say that, especially about people who are inherently broken? The reason is because God doesn’t just see us how we are at this moment; He sees us from a forever type of viewpoint. He sees what we are to become rather than the mess that we act like sometimes.

There’s a reason why we go through our trials. We can’t just be born and just stay there. Our lives were meant to be lived. God wants us to get out there into the world and to grow into the people He created us to be. Make no mistake, this is a fallen world that’s full of evils. We aren’t to partake in those evils, but God knows we will occasionally screw up. It’s going to happen. We make some bad choices now and again, but the Bible says that God will use all things for the good of those who love Him. That means just what it says, ALL things.

Take King David for example. He’s not exactly portrayed in the best light, but it’s real. The Bible shows David’s good sides and bad sides. Lust, jealousy, and murderous intent does not sound like someone who would be called “a man after God’s own heart,” but he is that man. It’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters. That doesn’t mean that you can just plan to live like you are straight from hell right now and expect to get into Heaven later. You can indeed be forgiven for a life not-to-well-lived, but that is only if you truly want the forgiveness. God knows what is in your heart. It doesn’t mean that He is happy with your actions right now, but it does mean that He will look beyond the ‘now you’ and see the ‘forever you’.

You are shaped by your experiences and that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Nothing is for nothing. You will be pressured and cut down by this world, but God allows it. He’s not OK with evil, but He will occasionally allow it to occur in order to bring about a greater good from it. Look at the cross. It was an extreme form of punishment that was reserved for the worst of the worst criminals, and yet we find our Lord Jesus right there. We read in 2 Corinthians that even though Jesus did not sin, He was made to be sin so that we could become the righteousness of God. Through evil, the greatest good, our salvation, came from it.

You may have a hard time at life and feel like you get cut down by everything in this world, but Jesus tells us to take heart, for He has overcome the world. God did not just entrust us with the keys to His kingdom, we actually become the keys when we become more like Christ.

Keys symbolize such things as security and freedom, but a key won’t work until it is cut and shaped into its final form. Allow God to form us into what He needs us to become. Embrace the struggle and let the Holy Spirit chip away at your rough edges. Don’t get down on yourself when you make a bad choice, just learn from it and rise above it.

You may feel rough and unusable, but just like a key, you are shaped exactly the way God needs you to be. Leave yourself open and available to God’s good will. When you do that, I believe and declare that He will show you some amazing things that He has in store for your life and the lives of others.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Paying the Price for Jesus

“If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.” – Romans 14:8

Being a Christian isn’t all happy and rainbows and laughter. There are some great parts to it, but if you think that following Jesus means taking the easy road, you are sadly mistaken. Jesus Himself didn’t take the easy way out and you should be glad He didn’t. Through His suffering and death, He took our sins from us. Through His resurrection, we have life eternal. There was a cost to be paid for our sins and Jesus paid every penny. Now to follow Him and to be partakers in God’s eternal glory, we must believe and receive Jesus and His finished work on that cross. There is no other way to God than through faith in His Son Jesus. That faith does have its own cost in this world.

There’s a lot of people don’t want to come to Christ, because they don’t want to pay the cost involved. Turning away from your sins is tough. Even being willing to turn away from your sins is tough, but it’s Jesus or sin. One or the other. God does not negotiate. You come to God through Jesus and you come to him by grace and by repentance. God created us all and it’s his rules. You come to him his way or not at all. That doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. Some people find it hard to release themselves in their lives and their sins to a Lord wants to take them away. Some people want to sow their wild oats before they come to Christ. They’re afraid they’re not gonna have any more fun. Well yes, sin can be fun for a time, but the ways that seem right to a man leads to death and destruction.

God has laid out exactly what you need to do. They aren’t tough rules, but they will force you to make a choice between the good that the world calls good and the true good that comes from the creator himself. Here’s a hint, only one is the real thing. Jesus says that broad is the path and wide is the gate that leads to destruction and many people who decided that the world’s kind of fun was worth pursuing more than God’s But Jesus says that narrow is the gate and straight is the way that leads to righteousness, peace, and Heaven most of all. There are unfortunately only a small number that choose that path. It’s available to everybody, but not too many people take it. They have questions, they have comments, they have concerns, and they try to reason with their minds rather than their hearts and their souls. Somethings you just can’t reason things out.

I can’t show you God or put him into a test tube or a laboratory and say, “there’s God.” Certain things aren’t going to make sense. I’m a preacher and I don’t understand the whole Bible. But that’s where faith comes in. You’re not gonna understand God‘s ways. His ways are so far above our ways as the heavens are above the earth. You would have to have the mind of God to understand God. If you could, there would be no need for faith because you’d understand everything already. You would know everything and so there wouldn’t be a choice except Heaven which would be the only logical choice.

But faith doesn’t care about logic. Faith is faith. It’s the substance of things not seen and the evidence of things yet to come. You must come to Christ by faith to be saved, not by works lest any man should boast. If you could get there through works, there would be no need for Christ. You could stand in Heaven before God and say, “Look what I did. Hey look at me I’m so wonderful.” God doesn’t want that, just as any father wouldn’t want their child boasting and bragging and making a show of themselves in a bad way. God wants you to be humble. He wants you to understand where you got that breath that you took just now. He wants you to understand that it’s Him who woke you up today, not just your alarm clock. How else should you come to the creator of literally everything, but in humility?

In short, have respect for God because He is God. If a firefighter told you how to get out of a burning building, you wouldn’t second guess him and think he’s lying. You’d follow his directions. Well here we are in the burning building called modern day life. Hell is all around us and God is pointing the way out. What will you do? Will you follow Jesus or follow this world. They both come with a cost to follow them, but one will truly pay off well in the end.

Jesus died for us, now live for Him. Jesus isn’t free, but He is truly worth the price.

God’s blessings to you.

DH