All Sins Start With I

“Love thy neighbor as thyself.” – Mark 12:31

Love is the greatest of God’s creations. Out of love, God made Heaven, the earth, and you. He loves you and wants you to love Him in return. However, when we sin and do evil in our hearts, it takes some of our love and our heart away from God. We no longer have the ability to focus on the Lord and the things that He holds forever dear. We are instead focused on ourselves and our sins which only can make us happy for a short time. We are left longing and being more unsatisfied than before.

Imagine that your heart is a box. You can pack that box with good things or bad things, but either way, there is only so much room in that box. The more of the wrong things you put into your heart, the less room you leave for Jesus. Your heart is made for love, but love for the right things rather than loving sin. Saint Augustine said that our hearts are restless until they rest in the Lord. How true that is!  Our hearts have a need for love that only God can fill. Anything else just isn’t enough. You can’t eat enough food or buy enough things to satisfy yourself. I promise you that it doesn’t work. It isn’t what God had in mind for you when you were created. The Bible says not to focus on the passing things in life, but to keep your eyes fixed on things which are above. One day, the fast cars will rust and the money will be all spent, but what does remain are those things which are done in service of others. God’s love comes from many places, but it is the most apparent when it comes though His servants.

I met a former business man that said no matter how far up the ladder he went, the emptier he felt. While he was working on how much money he could make, his family, his friends, and his home life eventually passed him by. It was the love of the wrong things that led to his pain. This person’s problem was that he focused his love on his own greatness rather than God’s greatness. He let his desire for status get in the way of him caring for his family. He has now turned his eyes to the Lord and has found what he terms as a new lease on life. He’s reconciled with his family and is making up for lost time. He also says that he derives more fulfillment from helping out at a local children’s hospital than he ever did being a boss at a big company. We all have love, but where we put that love can mean the difference between happiness and hurt.

There’s a sign up in our home that reads, “Whatever you do today had better be important, because you are trading a day of your life for it.” You can either positively or negatively affect generations by what you focus on today. If sin rules your life, don’t expect anything positive to come from it. It may be fun for a little while, but it never lasts and you aren’t helping anyone by committing evil. Pride, covetousness, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth; these are the so-called seven deadly sins. Notice how all of them come back to ourselves. We become ego-centric and think about our own needs rather than the needs of others, but that’s not why we were made. Ego means Edging God Out. The more your heart seeks after your own comfort and your own pleasure, the less your heart will seek out God. To truly love my wife, I have to want the highest and best thing for her, and that is Jesus Christ.  I want my wife to go to Heaven. I want my kids to go to Heaven. Therefore, I must make some sacrifices to help get them there. My comfort level must be a distant second when compared to the health, safety, and eternal security of my family. Anything less is unacceptable.

All sins start with “I.” It’s a good thing to love yourself, but there is a big problem when that self-love comes between you and God’s love for us all. The devil wants you to be self-focused. If you are experiencing God’s love and showing it to other people, you are taking your soul and the souls of others away from him and handing them back to God. To get right with God and to help serve humanity, pay attention to the needs of others. Put God first, everybody else second, and yourself last. The alphabet is the only place where “I” should come before “U”. Remember that Jesus Christ wasn’t thinking of His own comfort when He died on the cross. He was only concerned with our eternal salvation. Don’t let your anxiety or comfort level get in the way of feeding a homeless person or sharing the Gospel with someone you just met. You are here for a purpose and that purpose is love. Sin is selfish, but true love means caring for others.

The love of God reaches far and wide, but the love of sin dies with that sin. True love can only be given away, not kept for yourself and the more you give, the more you shall receive.

God’s blessings to you.

DH

GPS – God’s Positioning System

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13

If you were to die tonight, where would you go? I ask that question to a lot of people and get a lot of different responses. Many people, even good Christians, don’t have a definite belief that they would get into Heaven. Some of the responses are that they ‘hope they would go to Heaven’ or that they aren’t really sure because of the life they’ve led.

Let me set the record straight, God created you and He loves you very much. He is not willing to see any of His children go down the wrong path and get lost. His love for you is perfect, just as He is perfect. That being said, perfect love also means allowing the person a chance to choose for themselves. Love is a gift and a gift that is forced is no gift at all.

–A few points:

• God knows you are going to have trials and you will make mistakes. That’s OK. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

• Those mistakes have consequences, but God loves you and doesn’t want you to loose what He has for you. Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

–But the greatest part to His love for you is:

• “Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

What those scriptures mean is that God is kind. He’s not waiting ‘up there’ with a paddle, just watching to see you screw up. He already knows you will screw up, but He loves you. The key is to repent, which means to change your mind. Repent, turn away from your sins, and believe in what Jesus did for you on that cross. That’s it. You are already accepted by the Creator, all you need to do is accept Him in return.

Call upon Jesus and you will know the way home!

God’s blessings to you.

DH

9/11 – Lest We Forget

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you will revive me: you shall stretch forth your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand shall save me.” – Psalm 138:7

At one time, you could ask anyone, “Where were you on 9/11?” That’s not the case anymore. Apparently, incoming high school freshmen will be taught about the September 11th attacks in history class because they were not alive when that happened. I’m not entirely sure where the time went, but here we are 15 years later.

It’s easy to forget about bad times as the years go passing by. It’s said that time heals all wounds, but we keep the scars with us in this world. That’s a good thing, because those scars remind us of the choices that got us there; not only our choices, but the choices of our enemies as well.

Please recognize that our enemies are not only of a physical nature, but especially of a spiritual nature. It’s not that the events of September 11th were perpetrated by a certain people or a certain nationality, it’s so much more than that. Those attacks were done by people who do not follow Jesus Christ. That is what makes the difference. That is why those attacks were done with such malice and evil. There is God, who is our Heavenly Father, and then there are a bunch of other ‘small-g’ gods that are leading people down a very broad path towards death and destruction. That being said, each one of us is in danger of following what we turn into idols or gods.

When we choose anything other than Christ, we are placing that thing on a pedestal and worshiping it as our god. Our strongest desire should be to chase after the things of God. We should live our lives according to the firm principles of Jesus Christ. However, so many times we are too busy chasing after money, sex, alcohol, or any number of other things that we lose sight of what’s really important. “What would Jesus do” should be more than just a bumper sticker.

The problem is sin. That’s our biggest enemy. It’s easy to fall into sin when we do not follow Jesus. The Bible said that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ and that all who call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Those are comforting words, especially in a country like ours that honestly has become more sinful as the years go by. There were almost 3,000 people who died due to the attacks on 9/11 and that was a huge tragedy, but there are approx. 3,000 babies that are aborted DAILY in this country. Pornography has become a billion dollar a year business here. Drug use and alternative lifestyles are not only rampant, but socially acceptable. We have lost our way as a nation, plain and simple. The warning has been shown throughout history in countless civilizations. The moral demise of a nation precedes the complete demise of a nation. I love America and it sickens me to see the grip that the devil has in this world.

If there was anything good that came from 9/11, it was that for a while at least we came together as a nation. The churches were packed. Retirement homes saw a large uptick in the amount of visitors stopping by to see relatives. Abortions dropped to such a small number that Planned Parenthood in New York City started advertising that they would do them FOR FREE just to get people in the door. Families were spending time together and the overall state of our nation was one of love and solidarity.

Unfortunately, time does heal all wounds and we started forgetting the events that sent our country into havoc. We forget to look at our scars. The attacks on September 11th were pure evil and should not ever be reduced to less than that. There’s no excuse for taking the lives of innocent people. There was one innocent life however that was made into sin for your salvation and for mine, Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life. He put sin to death on the cross. We, too, need to nail our sins to that same cross before it’s too late. God will protect us, but we need to follow His lead through the valley of the shadow of death. Never forget that.

God bless you and God bless the United States of America.

DH

For Peace With God

God’s plan is for peace in your life, but in this crazy, confused, and fallen world, it seems like all we have are difficulties and pains. Once one goes away, another takes its place. It is the furthest thing from peace, but we need to realize that being at peace is not automatic.

Our problem is that we are separated from God. We are strangers in a strange land and that becomes more apparent with each passing day. Sin abounds. It’s all we see around every turn in this world. After a while, we find we jump right into that sin with both feet. But don’t think that you are alone in that mess. In Romans 3:23, it says that ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. How right it is.

The words ‘sin’ and ‘fallen’ don’t need to be what define you though. God has placed a remedy before us to bridge the gap between Him and us. That bridge is the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection paid the penalty for your sins and mine. The bible says that “He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24).

However, just because the bridge is there doesn’t mean that we automatically get saved. We have to accept that saving grace. We can’t just take a flight if we have a ticket. That plane will leave without us if we don’t climb on board. We have to cross the bridge and we do that when we accept and receive Christ through His personal invitation.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name.” – John 1:12

“Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” – Romans 10:13

To receive Christ you need to do four things:

  1. ADMIT your spiritual need. “I am a sinner.” Just like in any problem, the first step is admitting you have one.
  2. REPENT and be willing to turn from your sin. You have to pick a path. One leads to death, the other to eternal life. You at least have to be willing to turn down the correct path, but make no mistake, you can’t do it alone. You need Jesus’ help and that’s what He’s offering.
  3. BELIEVE that Jesus Christ died for you on the cross. Romans 10:19 says that if you declare with your mouth “Jesus is Lord” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
  4. RECEIVE, through prayer, Jesus Christ into your heart and life. Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in” (Revelation 3:20).

Whether you are a non-believer in search of peace in your life or even if you are a lifelong Christian who doesn’t feel like they have had that connection with Jesus, now is your chance to come to Him. He’s waiting for you. Please pray this prayer with me:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner and need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died for my sins and I want to turn from them now and forever. I want You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as Lord and Savior.”

Friends, if you prayed that prayer with me, I believe that you have just been saved. If you didn’t, than what are you waiting for? The bible says that today is the day of salvation; now is the accepted time. I know that if I had a single doubt as to my eternal salvation, you couldn’t drag me away from here without accepting the peace of Jesus Christ.

Now, get into a good bible based local church, if you are physically able, and come to know more about the God who loves you and wants to be with you forever. You are now no longer at odds against Him, but instead you have returned to Him as His child who was once lost, but now is found. His arms are outstretched to welcome you home.

May His blessings be upon you forever.

DH