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

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

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

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

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