Refire!

Sometimes at a restaurant, the food is not cooked as well as it should be. You’ll often hear a waiter or a cook say “Refire!” That means they need to make the order new and fresh again, otherwise the food won’t be the quality that should be served.

Much like in cooking you may need a refire, Christians sometimes need a refire of our spirit. Otherwise, what we give to God and even what we want in life will be of poor quality as well.

Being a Christian means more than just attending a church building on Sundays. Our lives should be spent in a relationship with God our Father. We need that daily walk with Him to enliven us and strengthen us. You wouldn’t just eat once a week. You shouldn’t go a full week or even a day without being filled by the Holy Spirit.

I’ve found that the less time I spend with Jesus Christ, the more that the devil comes at me from all sides. Either I’m on fire in the Spirit or Satan is hitting me with his own brand of fire. There’s no cooling off period. You’re either going up or you’re going down.

Especially in the past, you would hear of churches doing revivals. That was to get new believers and old Christians fired up for the Lord. We need that sort of thing in our own personal lives as well. You revive things that are passing out or passing away. Take a look at your life. Is it passing away before your eyes?

Jesus says in the book of Revelation that he wished a church was either hot or cold. He then said, “but because you are lukewarm, I spew you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16). What a horrible thought, to be rejected so violently by the Savior!

We cannot be lukewarm Christians! We admire people with a passion for art or a passion for sports or anything. Why? Because people who truly care about something put their heart and soul into whatever they are doing. You don’t become an Olympic sprinter by sitting on the couch eating chips. You run. You run fast, you run hard, and you run often.

We will never reach the finish line of Heaven if we don’t get off of the starting block.

Dig deep and set your spirit on fire for Jesus. Even Jesus himself said, “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning!” (Luke 12:49). My friends, it is time to set the world on fire for Jesus and it all starts with you and I. Right here, right now, we all need a refire for the Lord!

God’s blessings to you.

DH

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

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

Are Pictures of Jesus Graven Images?- Since You Asked Q.2

“I see Jesus everywhere in a bunch of paintings and statues. Doesn’t that break one of the Ten Commandments when it says not to make any graven images or idols?”

‘Do not turn to idols or make for yourselves any gods of cast metal: I am the Lord your God.’ – Leviticus 19:4

This is an excellent question and one that I hear frequently. If we aren’t to make graven images, why are there an enormous amount of statues and paintings of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and etc.? Aren’t we making idols for ourselves to worship?

To begin this conversation, you need to know what an idol really is. An idol by definition is the object of worship. We never want to worship a created object in any way, thinking that the object is the source and origination of some godly power. However, having a picture of Jesus around is not a bad thing in and of itself.

Do you have any pictures of your mom or dad, or maybe some of your spouse and children? I know I do, a bunch of them in fact. Do I love those pictures? I may say that, but what I really love are the memories and the images of what they portray. I wouldn’t throw my kids away in favor of their picture, that would be insane. In truth, I love my wife and kids, but I keep their pictures around as a visible reminder of them.

The same thing can be said for a picture of Jesus Christ. I don’t truly love the picture. That picture didn’t die for my sins. That picture isn’t the son of the Most High God. That picture simply reminds me of a love that I share with my Creator and reminds me of the person and works of Jesus Christ.

We are both spiritual beings and physical beings all at once. We connect spiritually through such things as love, compassion, and other feelings. However, we also connect through the visible manifestations of those feelings. I can tell my wife I love her all day long, but she connects with it more when I do something to show her love, like a hug or a kiss. Does that mean the feeling is not needed? Certainly not. Once agin, we are souls and we are bodies, and one needs the other in this world.

One thing of note, and I touched on it before, is that when the visible object replaces the true and real object, that’s when you have an idol. We may look up to sports and movie stars, and that’s ok within reason. But you can eventually start to look to those stars as the end all-be all of your life. That’s when you have an idol problem. An idol is something, anything, that you can’t live without. That can be a person or a drug or even a feeling. Any creation that you raise above the Creator Himself is an idol.

To put it another way, if you are a Christian, you are housing the Holy Spirit within you. You are His temple. And just as I wouldn’t want some strange man in my house living there, God doesn’t want strange idols or anything ruling his house but Him. In short, God wants to be number one in the house.

In closing, a picture or a statue of our Savior is not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean we are worshipping a picture and making it into our idol. If you see something like a painting or even a Bible and it reminds you that you are loved by the God of the universe, that’s a good thing. Just don’t put that picture or that Bible above the Savior it refers to. Reminders are important, but the real thing is better by far.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

Daniel and the Lyin’s Den

“Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.” – Daniel 2:48

Many people have heard about Daniel in the lions’ den and how God sent His angels to shut the mouths of the lions to protect Daniel. God did this because Daniel was a good and faithful servant.  Even when the unbelieving king Darius signed the order for everyone to only bow and pray to his statue, Daniel immediately went home, opened the windows so everyone could see, and knelt down to pray to the one true God.  Thus, Daniel was thrown into the den of the lions as punishment.

One of the main takeaways from this particular story is not only does Daniel obey God, but he does it in the midst of a pagan, unbelieving ruler. How many of us can say that we work for a person or persons that is sometimes less than ethical?  How often do we see people and even some so-called friends do things that isn’t right according to God’s standards?  If we are honest with ourselves, we live in a society that rewards unethical behavior and people who “do whatever it takes.”  But that’s not how God wants this world to act.

I like the old saying about, “Integrity is what you do when nobody’s watching.” In truth, there is always somebody watching, and that person is Jesus Christ.  No matter what this world says, if you can’t do something with integrity, then it shouldn’t be done.  The rat race of corporate America tells you that it’s OK to break a few rules now and then to get more money.  People who are after a few more bucks write up contracts that aren’t worth the paper they are written on, and for what?  A few more steaks in the freezer?  Even Jesus Himself said, “What does it profit a man that he should gain the world and loose his own soul?”  Money, sex, prestige, whatever the reason is, we aren’t even gaining the whole world.  We are only selling out for a small part of this world, and it’s a world that will pass away.

What will be left is your eternal soul. In the end, forever, you and I will be in Heaven or hell, period.  If you are a born-again Christian, you know where you will end up and that’s with our Father in Heaven.  But there is a job to do before then.  As a child of the Most High God, it is our job to follow Christ in word and in deed.  When you turn your life over to Christ, you are not immediately taken up to Heaven.  You are left in this world to show others what’s right and to turn them from their sinful ways.  Just like Daniel, in whatever job you do and wherever pays your salary, you are to show integrity and honesty is everything you do.  You may be the only experience that someone will have with a Christian, so be a good experience.  You represent the holy name of God, so show people what that means.

A company or any place will be blessed because you are there. You are a light for the world to guide by, and that light better shine towards Jesus.  Daniel showed his earthly king what his Heavenly King was all about, and it prospered Daniel and those around him.

Daniel is a great example of how a Christian should act, even when working for an unbelieving boss. Eventually, those around Daniel, including the king, would come to see what a wonderful and powerful God that Daniel served.  Let those you meet and also work with see what a wonderful and powerful God you serve, today and every day.

God’s blessings to you.

DH