Author: Michael Heilman

What are the Languages of Love?

What are the Languages of Love?

We all agree that love is one of the most powerful emotions every single individual is capable of exhibiting. But are we even aware that love is a language? It certainly is! Accordingly, there are 5 languages of love.

Bible Verse: Mark 12:30-31

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.

Summation of God’s Law

Love for God cannot be divorced from love for one’s neighbor. So, Jesus also quoted Leviticus 19:18 and put it on the same level as the Shema. All of the law and the prophets hang on both of these commandments.

We might add that the teachings of the Epistles in the New Testament agree with this statement: If a person really loves God, he or she must also love their brother, sister, and neighbor (1 John 3:10-18; 4:7-21).

The Five Expression of God's Love

If we have the right relationship with God, we will have no problems with His commandments. Love is the basis for obedience. In fact, all of the law is summed up in love (Romans 13:8-10). If we love God, we will love our neighbors. If we love our neighbors, we will not want to do anything to harm them.

5 Expressions of Love

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five primary love languages. They are the five ways that people express love to each other. These are: 1) words of affirmation, 2) quality time, 3) physical touch, 4) acts of service, and 5) receiving gifts.

It is true that most people express love in two of the five ways, but not Jesus. He expressed love in all five ways.

Jesus Loves with Words of Affirmation

In John 8:4-11, Jesus showed love to the woman caught in adultery with words of affirmation.

We must not misinterpret this event to mean that Jesus was easy on sin. Or that He contradicted the law. For Jesus to forgive this woman meant that He had to one day die for her sin. Forgiveness is free but it is not cheap.

The Lord did not affirm her actions but He did affirm her value as a person. By affirming the value of this woman as a person, Jesus modeled not only words but also actions. He showed affirmation to a woman that needed mercy just like we all do.

Jesus Loves with Quality Time

We read in Luke 19:2-9 how Jesus showed love to Zacchaeus by spending quality time with him. It was never a coincidence that Jesus called for Zacchaeus when he was up in the tree. Jesus knew Zacchaeus wanted to see Him but He gave him something better – time to speak with Him.

Everyone indeed has a limited amount of time. But isn’t God and other people worth enough to spend some time with them?

Jesus Loves with His Touch

Jesus showed love in Luke 8:52-56 by His touch. He had healed many people of physical and spiritual illnesses, inspiring Bill Gaither to write the song, “He Touched Me.”

We read how Jesus has literally and figuratively touched many people. We can also show love by sharing the healing message of the Gospel, aside from the comfort of a hug. Are the souls of people worth enough for us to touch them with the Gospel?

Jesus Loves with Self-Service

As Jesus’ earthly ministry was coming to a close, He sacrificed His life as an act of service to provide the greatest gift of all: salvation.

It’s been 2 weeks since Christians all around the world celebrated the love of God expressed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is by far the greatest expression of love God could have shown to humanity.

Jesus Loves by Receiving Gifts

We must recognize that we can never out-give God nor can we repay what Jesus has done for us. Well, not that He expects us to.

So, what gifts can we offer to our Lord? The apostle Paul exhorts every believer to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:2).

Just as Jesus Christ had to take on Himself a body to accomplish God’s will on earth, so we must yield our bodies to Christ. We submit to the Lord that He might continue God’s work through us.

We must yield the members of the body as “instruments of righteousness” (Romans 6:13) for the Holy Spirit to use in the doing of God’s work. The Old Testament sacrifices were dead sacrifices, but we are to be living sacrifices.

Closing Words

As we can see, Jesus is the model of all five love languages. And as born-again Christians, we are supposed to live our lives as disciples or imitators of Jesus. We do this by living out the first and greatest commandment found in Mark 12:30-31. (See also Matthew 22:37-39.)

Let us love God and love others using all five love languages.


Get a copy of my book “Life According to the Truth.”

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanPublisher’s Description

Do you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to The Truth. Disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to Michael’s life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born-again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life
  • How to love God
  • How to love others
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Don’t Get Distracted From God’s Purpose For You

Don’t Get Distracted From God’s Purpose For You

God has a specific will or purpose for every believer. But how often do we seek to fulfill God’s purpose for our life? And how often do we get distracted as a result of focusing too much on things that don’t really matter?

Bible Verse: Luke 19:5

And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.”

Who Is Zacchaeus?

The name “Zacchaeus” means “righteous one,” but this supervisor of tax collectors was not living up to his name. Certainly, the Jewish religious community in Jericho would not have considered him righteous, for he has not only collected taxes from his own people but also worked for the unclean Gentiles.

And tax collectors were notorious for collecting more taxes than required; the more money collected, the more income they enjoyed.

God’s Purpose For Zacchaeus

We read Zacchaeus’ encounter with Jesus in Luke 19:1-10. So, it happened that as Jesus entered and passed through Jericho, Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector wanted to see Jesus. But because he was too short to see over the crowd, he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road where Jesus was going to pass by.

As Jesus came by, He looked up at Zacchaeus, called him by name, and asked him to come down, for He was going stay as a guest in his home (Luke 19:5).

Jesus Visits Zacchaeus
Photo Credits: The Brown Pelican Society

It was God’s will to spend time with Zacchaeus. Jesus was followed by a large crowd but that did not stop Him from ministering to Zacchaeus. Clearly, Jesus was not distracted by popularity or skeptics (Luke 19:3, 7).

The same thing happened when Jesus and His disciples went through Samaria. Jesus needed to go through Samaria to see the Samaritan woman and minister to her (John 4:4-25).

God had a purpose for Zacchaeus and the Samaritan woman, and God has a purpose for your life. How often do you seek God’s purpose for your life? When was the last time you asked God to reveal it to you?

Getting Distracted from Your Purpose

Many preachers today use methods that guarantee a crowd because it feels a lot better to minister to a large crowd than to just one single individual. How many of us can honestly say we would prefer to one more than a crowd? Who does not like being popular?

Truth be told. I know I have wanted to minister to as many people as possible through Bible thoughts, my books, etc. I just pray I never get too proud and forget about individual people. Is that true of you as well?

Jesus was always followed by a crowd during much of His ministry. Yet, He never stopped to preach and teach them while making sure He wasn’t neglecting individuals who wanted to listen to Him.

Closing Thoughts

There will always be people that find a problem, scoff, and mock. On other occasions in Scripture, Jesus responded to their doubts and skepticism, but this time no response was given. Sometimes God does not want us to respond to antagonism.

It does not really matter what people think or say if they are wrong. There is no point to be distracted or worried by lies. Don’t get distracted from the things that God has called you to do.

As Paul says, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). How well are we pressing toward that purpose?

We do not know what tomorrow holds but we know who holds tomorrow. Trust Him!


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Get a copy of my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to the Truth, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

America Needs God Right Now

America Needs God Right Now

In just a couple of days, the United States of America will decide whether Donald Trump remains in the White House for another four years. Has Trump done enough during his first term to convince Americans that he’s the right guy to put the country back on track?

Trump’s challenger, former vice president Joe Biden, is currently leading in almost every poll and could potentially unseat Trump. But what does a Biden win mean in terms of religious liberty, economic stability, and America’s long-standing friendship with Israel?

Now more than ever, America needs God.

Bible Verse: Psalm 119:118

“You reject all those who stray from Your statutes, for their deceit is falsehood.”

In this verse, the psalmist speaks of the righteous judgment of God. He uses His “statutes” as a measuring line of His judgment, rejecting all those who stray from His Word and the principles revealed therein.

If we love the Word, we will hate lies and oppose liars. The psalmist knew that his shelter and shield were the Lord alone, and he trusted in Him. He is not hiding in the Lord from fear of facing the enemy, because he addresses the enemy in verse 115.

“Depart from me, you evildoers, for I will keep the commandments of my God!”

Only in the Lord could he find the help he needed.

Turning Our Backs On God

For years, America has turned its back on God. Biblical literacy is at an all-time low. Evil laws are being passed and enacted. Corruption is rampant in the highest places of office. I can guarantee that most Americans have taken the One, true God out of schools, courts, government, and society.

America Needs God Right Now

This explains why America has been in moral, social, and economic decline. But I believe that God isn’t finished with us yet. He can bless America and make it the world’s greatest nation once again. But we need to repent of our sins and turn back to God, for only God can make America great again.

God: the Only Source of Righteousness

Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.”

Greatness is not found in your pocketbook; it is not found in government nor is it found in large groups of people. Greatness is only found in God since He is the only source of righteousness.

Many people claim they can be righteous or moral without God but that is not what the Word of God says. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Romans 3:10 also says, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”

So, just because someone believes or claims something, does not make it true. God is the only source of truth. God does not judge on a bell curve. He judges based on His standard. If you have not received His righteousness, you are not righteous. That is why God had to become a man.

If God did not become man, man would not be given God’s righteousness. Jesus came to earth so that we may be able to become sons of God as John 1:12, 14 says, on the condition we receive Him.

God will never force anyone to accept His free gift of salvation. If the people in America do not turn back to God, human trafficking, rioting, fear, division, corruption, murder, and pain and suffering will continue.

Christian Jewelry and Wall Decors - Lord's Guidance

Time to Pray, Vote, and Stand

As pastor Jack Hibbs of Calvary Chapel Chino Hills said, “It’s time for God’s people to pray, to vote, and to stand.” Christians cannot afford to “sit out” this election. We need to go out and vote. More importantly, we need to vote in a biblical way.

Some of you may say, “But none of these two presidential candidates seem to be morally upright.” Keep in mind that we’re not voting for an individual; we’re not voting for a spiritual leader. We are voting for a party; we’re voting for a platform. Whose platform do you think better lines up with God’s principles?

I get it. You do not like Trump’s personality. You do not like his tweets or the way he gets things done. But what matters is that he’s getting things done. He has kept his promises and the things he ran on in 2016.

A vote for Trump and the Republican Party is a vote for religious liberty. Looking at what’s going on right now in states run by the Democrats, Christians should know better than to give them more power and government control.

Closing Words

For the first time in so many years, more and more Christian leaders have come out in the open to support President Donald Trump. That tells you how important this election is. Of course, God is still on the throne and He is in control. But Christians need to do their part as well.

We cannot sit comfortably at home and say, “Lord, it’s all in your hands now.” We need to go out and vote. We must vote as if everything is on the line.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Get a copy of Michael’s devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to the Truth, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life.

With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

Do you often feel like you’re losing the game of life? That no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to keep up? No matter how strong and healthy we think we are, physically and spiritually, that is, there comes a time when we start to grow weary and lose all the energy needed to keep us going.

The great news is, God promised to renew our strength; we will find new strength by trusting in God and waiting patiently on Him.

Bible Verse: Isaiah 40:29-31

“He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

God Does Not Grow Weary

Going back to Isaiah 40:28, it says, “The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.”

In the ancient world, the gods were viewed as having human weaknesses and often were inattentive or simply unaware of events that were taking place. One result of this was that the pantheon of gods were constantly outwitting or tricking each other. The gods were not indefatigable. They were in constant need of food, drink, and shelter.

In contrast, Yahweh God never grows weak or weary. And Isaiah thought the Jewish people needed to hear what they already know. They needed to hear about the everlasting Creator of all the earth who never grows weak or weary.

If we believe these truths about God, we should live as if God has already taken care of all our needs, present and future.

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

The Greatness of God

As the Jewish remnants returned to rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple, they knew they had a rough road ahead of them. They were few in number and the victories of Assyria, Babylon, and Persia made it look as though the false gods of the Gentiles were stronger that the God of Israel. Thus, they became faint-hearted

But Isaiah reminded the people of the greatness of Yahweh (Isaiah 40:12-20). God is greater than anything on earth. Creation shows His wisdom, power, and immensity. He is greater than the nations and their gods.

God founded the earth and sits on the throne of heaven, and nothing is equal to Him, let alone greater than Him. So, the next time you are tempted to think that the world is bigger than God, remember that the nations are “as a drop in a bucket” (Isaiah 40:15) and “the inhabitants are like grasshoppers” (Isaiah 40:22).

God is greater than anything in heaven. And if you ever feel so small that you wonder if God really cares about you personally, remember that He knows the name of every star (Isaiah 40:26) and your name as well (John 10:3, 27). The same God who numbers and names the stars can heal your broken heart (Psalm 147:3-4).

God Sees Your Every Situation

God is all-powerful and is greater than the circumstances within us. The nation of Israel knew this very well because they have seen and heard what God has done for their ancestors. But instead of trusting God to work on their behalf, they complained and acted as though God did not know their situation or have any concern for their problems (Isaiah 40:27).

Instead of seeing the open door, the Jews saw only the long road before them, and they complained that they did not have strength for the journey and that God was asking them to do the impossible.

Admittedly, there are times when we are like the nation of Israel. Although we know of God’s promise to strengthen us when we are weak and that He will help us get us through every rough situation, we complain and accuse Him of not caring about us.

Finding Strength by Waiting on the Lord

God Promises to Renew Our Strength

God knows how we feel and He sees our fears. And rest assured that He is adequate to meet our every need. We are not able to do things on our own but we can always trust God to provide the strength we need (Philippians 4:13).

If we rely on ourselves, we will faint and fail, but if we wait on the Lord by faith, we will receive strength for the journey. Waiting on the Lord means to look to God for all that we need (Isaiah 26:3; 20:15). This involves meditating on His character and His promises, praying, and seeking to glorify Him.

To “renew our strength” means to “exchange,” as taking off old clothing and putting on something new. We exchange our weakness for God’s power (2 Corinthians 12:1-10). As we trust God, He enables us to soar during a crisis, to run when the challenges are many, and to walk faithfully, in the routine day-to-day demands of life.

Walking in the ordinary pressures of life can be much more difficult than flying like an eagle in a time of crisis.

Bottom Line

God renews our strength. As people, we get tired; we become weary. But God enables us to do what we need to do. That does not mean we will never need rest or sleep. It means when we rely on God’s strength, He will enable us.

The word “wait” means to have faith. There will be times when it seems like we’re waiting for nothing. But we must understand that God does everything according to His will. When we trust God to direct our steps, He will see us through to victory.

Sometimes we think that God should do things for us the way we want Him to, but that is not how God works. We need to trust in God’s timing and wait patiently on Him. As one quote says, “Prayer is powerful. But always remember that God works according to His timetable, not yours. Be patient.”

Faith and patience always go hand-in-hand. We don’t always know when God will answer our utmost prayers and give us the desires of our hearts. But when we trust in Him, He will bring it to pass in His own perfect time.


Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission when you use any links on this page to make a purchase, but at no additional cost to you.

Get a copy of Michael Heilman’s devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to the Truth, Michael Heilman honestly writes about the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life.

With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you. 

 

Judging Your Brother in Faith

Judging Your Brother in Faith

Do you know of any brother or sister in Christ who only eats vegetables? What could be the reason behind it? More importantly, how do you feel about it or your reaction to it? Perhaps you know some Christians who consider one day more sacred than the other while you consider every day alike.

Do you condemn or judge them for their weak faith?

Bible Verses: Romans 14:10-14

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written: “As I live, says the Lord, Every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us shall give an account of himself to God.

Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way. I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

Condemning the Weak Believers

The whole chapter of Romans 14 is talking about Christian liberty and unity. Paul addresses those who were strong in the faith, that is, those who understood their spiritual liberty in Christ and were not enslaved to diets or holy days.

Who are the weak believers? The “weak in faith” were immature believers who felt obligated to obey legalistic rules concerning what they ate and when they worshiped. Many people have the idea that the Christians who follow strict rules are the most mature, but this is not necessarily the case.

Romans 14:1

We don’t have the responsibility to decide the requirements for Christian fellowship in a church, only God can do this. To set up human restrictions, based on personal prejudices (or even convictions) is to go beyond the Word of God. We receive one another because God has received us (Romans 14:1-3).

Our first responsibility is to the Lord (Romans 14:8). If Christians would go to the Lord in prayer instead of going to their brother or sister with criticism or condemnation, the fellowship in churches would be stronger. See also John 21:15-25.

Every church has weak and strong believers. The strong understand spiritual truth and practice it, but the weak have not yet grown into that level of maturity and liberty. The weak must not condemn the strong and call them unspiritual. The strong must not despise the weak and call them immature.

God has received both the weak and the strong; therefore they should receive one another (Romans 14:12).

Do Not Judge Your Brother; Love Them Instead

The first part of Romans 14:13 admonishes us to stop judging one another. But if we stop with this, we might give the impression that Christians should leave each other alone and let the weak remain weak. But the second admonition explains things further.

The emphasis is not on master-servant but a fellow believer. It is the principle of brotherly love. If we love each other we will seek to edify each other and build each other up in the faith (Romans 14:19). In the succeeding verses of Romans 14, Paul shared several facts to help his readers help their brothers.

Stop judging your brother in faith. Stop condemning the weak believers.

In the meantime, we must help each other grow. All believers, strong and weak, need to grow. Strong believers need to grow in love; weak believers need to grow in knowledge. So long as a fellow believer is weak in the faith, we must lovingly deal with that person in his or her immaturity.

But if we really love the weaker believer, we will help them to grow. For a Christian to remain immature, having a weak conscience is wrong.

Unity Does Not Always Mean Uniformity

If you have been following the late Dr. Ravi Zacharias, you should be familiar with the phrase, “Unity does not always mean uniformity.” He always used this every time he had to deal with the question of the differences in minor theology among Christian denominations.

Paul is telling us the same thing in Romans 14. Sure, God wants us (and expects us) to set standards in our lives. Sometimes those standards will be different from other Christians and there is actually nothing wrong with that.

God does not want unity based on conformity. God does not want Christians to live by a set of rules given by their pastor. This then results in Christians having different standards in many different areas.

However, disputes arise when believers start judging other believers for having stronger standards. In Romans 14:10, God is telling us, “Don’t worry about what other Christians are doing.” In other words, how they live their Christian life is none of your business. At the end of the day, we will all stand before Jesus to give an account of ourselves. You are not responsible for them.

This is actually what I use to completely ignore what other Christians are doing. All I’m saying is, don’t get all offended over what people do. You are not their judge so stop acting like one. Romans 14:14 implies that God has given all Christians the liberty to decide what standards they want to have. Thus, we must be convinced of the standards we set for ourselves.

Closing Words

If you do not know yet the standards you should live by, go figure. Nothing is inherently wrong, but if you believe Christian rock music is wrong and drinking alcohol is wrong, then don’t do it. You are responsible for your own actions.

We will all give an account of the way we lived our lives. On that day, we won’t have time to look at everyone else. Are you prepared to stand before God?


Get a copy of my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Publisher’s Description

Life According to the Truth by Michael HeilmanDo you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you? In Life According to the Truth, disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman, honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly Scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life.
  • How to love God
  • How to love others.
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy

Sowing in Tears, Reaping in Joy

The Christian life is likened to a journey where there would be good times and bad times. So if you expected a comfortable, easy life the day you made a life-changing decision to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior then you’re definitely in for a big surprise.

While the joy that fills one’s heart when he or she receives God’s forgiveness and assurance of eternal life is so real, we need to remember that oftentimes that great joy is preceded by a season of tears. As Psalm 126:5 says, “Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy.”

The Amazing Work of God

Psalm 126:1-6 with the title “A Song of Ascents,” thought to be composed after the Babylonian exile in gratitude for God’s restoration, is the seventh in the series of fifteen songs for pilgrims coming to Jerusalem.

When Israel’s rebellion became so great that the land itself was being defiled, God took them out of the land and sent them to Babylon for seventy years. After they had been set free, they could not believe what was happening.

They knew that both Isaiah and Jeremiah had promised this “second exodus,” but it was too good to be true. During long years of waiting, they had dreamed of returning home, and now that dream had become a reality. God in His grace had forgiven them (Isaiah 40:1-2; 44:21-22) and they could make a new beginning.

The surrounding nations, some of whom hated Israel, were utterly astonished at this event and openly confessed that the God of Israel had done great things for them. The Jews replied that indeed He had done amazing works for them, and they give God the glory (Psalm 16:2-3).

This ought to be the confession of every Christian and every local church.

Sowing Tears Reaping Joy

God’s Principle of Sowing and Reaping

In His covenant, God gave the promise of adequate food for the people (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), and the people who were planting seeds, were claiming that promise. It pleases the Lord when we water with our tears the seed of the Word that we sow. We cannot reap if we do not first sow the seed, and the seed must be watered with our tears and our prayers.

Some blessings God sends suddenly (Psalm 126:4), and some come as we patiently sow and weep (James 5:7). But His promise is secure so “let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9).

God is Faithful in Keeping His Promises

If the Lord did not keep His covenant and send the early and latter rains, there would be no crops and their labors would have been in vain. Each raindrop was but a tiny thing, but when dropped on the earth, it was the promise of life.

How gracious of the Lord to send “showers of blessings” (Ezekiel 34:26) to His people. How important it is that God’s people pray for His blessing and prepare themselves to receive it.

Application for Christians Today

Even in the Old Testament, the gospel was already present. The gospel is the seed that we plant in men’s hearts. It is also true that some seed takes more time to sprout than others, but the principle laid out in Psalm 26:5-6 is still true today.

God also gives you the credit for working hard to see the seeds produce. That is what it means when it says “bringing his sheaves.” When we cry and put large amounts of effort into individuals to get saved or to grow spiritually, God will reward that hard work.

Shouldn’t we be more motivated to know the gospel and Bible better and always ready to share when the opportunity shows itself?


Get my devotional book “Life According to the Truth.”

Michael Heilman's Devotional Book

Publisher’s Description

Do you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you? In Life According to the Truth, Disciple of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman, honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study you will be enlightened in regards to:
Why God must be the key focus of your life.
How to love God.
How to love others.
How to discern God’s will for your life.
How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ.

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant Joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Trusting God in Perilous Times

Trusting God in Perilous Times

Over the last two thousand years, Christians have been harshly persecuted and even killed for meeting together. The Fox’s Book of Martyrs is filled with many stories of fellow Christians being murdered for trusting Jesus as their Savior.

I know that many times Christians met in the dark or underground in communist countries like China or in Saudi Arabia where freedom to practice other religions besides Islam is prohibited, so they could hide from being found.

Yet, they still choose to meet together. They are trusting God even in perilous times. I’d say that is some serious faith because they trust God enough to meet together despite the risk of being punished or killed. Where has that type of faith gone?

Bible Verses:

Luke 18:8b; Matthew 24:7; Hebrews 10:25

“Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” – Luke 18:8b

“For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.” – Matthew 24:7

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25

Intended Readers of Hebrews: Persecuted Christians

Although scholars and theologians do not necessarily agree as to the authorship of the epistle to the Hebrews, it is apparent that the recipients were believers (Hebrews 3:1) who had come to faith through the testimony of eyewitnesses of Christ (Hebrews 2:3). They were not new converts (Hebrews 5:12) and they had successfully endured hardships because of their stand for the gospel (Hebrews 10:32-34).

Unfortunately, they had become “dull of hearing” and were in danger of drifting away. This made them particularly susceptible to the renewed persecutions that were coming upon them, so the author found it necessary to check the downward spiral with a word of exhortation.

Participation in the Local Church

The ultimate reason that we should participate in a local church is that it is specifically commanded by God. It is the will of Christ that His disciples should assemble together for the worship of God and mutual edification. But it seems that even in the New Testament days some yielded to the temptation of absenting themselves from the worship services of the local church.

Trusting God in Perilous times

The writer of Hebrews points out that members of a local church have an obligation to one another. They are to provoke one another to good works and to exhort one another to live consistent lives worthy of God. This can best be done within the context of a local church, so believers are commanded not to forsake the assembling of themselves together.

Canceling Church in Perilous Times

Recently I have seen numerous churches cancel their regular gathering over a new strain of flu. At what point did Christians start listening to scientists or politicians when we are allowed to worship?

Faithful Christians did not listen to dictators. We are in a free country, so why now? I am shocked! Pastors are commending to not worship together, and congregations are not demanding a prayer meeting for God’s intervention or a time of worship.

Am I watching Luke 18:8 happen before my eyes? Have we forgotten that before the return of Christ, Matthew says there will be many pestilences? Maybe I should call them in modern terminology viruses or bacteria. It’s not as if this is the first time we are hearing of these things. Haven’t we experienced these before? And yes, these will result in pandemics before Christ’s return. Will we meet then?

It’s been over two thousand years since Jesus walked the earth. We have never been this close to Jesus’ return than now. Shouldn’t we be meeting more and more as Hebrews 10:25 says? How much do you trust God in these perilous times?


Get a copy of my book “Life According to the Truth.”

Life According to the Truth Book Summary

Do you know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ? Did you know that God wants to prepare you during this life to live in heaven with Him? Does your purpose for life evade you?

In Life According to The Truth, a follower of Jesus Christ, Michael Heilman honestly writes to the issues facing the church and how to live the victorious Christian life.

Michael expounds on biblical principles God has applied to his life and led to God’s blessing in many areas of his life. With illustrations, humor, and most importantly scripture, he explains to any born again believer who is spiritually wandering through life, how to be spiritually blessed by God as a disciple of Jesus Christ.

In this devotional Bible study, you will be enlightened in regards to:

  • Why God must be the key focus of your life
  • How to love God
  • How to love others
  • How to discern God’s will for your life
  • How to be confident with your identity in Jesus Christ

Life is difficult, but God can enable you to have abundant Joy. If you are a born-again believer that needs encouragement, this book is for you.

Right Motives vs. Wrong Motives

Right Motives vs. Wrong Motives

Everyone, whether they know it or not, has motives. Everyone has their own reasons why they act a certain way and why they do the things they do. Well, motives can be right or wrong. But how do we determine between the two?

Bible Verse: Ephesians 6:5-7

“Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.”

Reflection

Many people today base their decisions on how they feel. That is a very dangerous place to be since our feelings change on a whim.

Societal logic can change over time. Each society is unique in its own ways as well. Some societies think murdering their children in abortion is good when other societies love their children. What is the one foundation that does not change?

Malachi 3:6 says God does not change. Psalm 119:89 says God’s word does not change. In so many words, they do not change. We can trust them to be true. Do you trust them enough base your decisions on them?

Working as Servants of Jesus

The word “bondservants” (or slaves) in Ephesians 6:5, undoubtedly refers to Christian servants, and servants are obedient “as they would serve Christ.” However, we may certainly apply these words to the Christian employee today.

Ephesians 6:7 says we are to render good service to our employer (master), as to the Lord. This means that all our work, or everything we do, is really done unto the Lord, not unto man. Doing a good job is the will of God. Christianity knows nothing out of sacred and secular.

Working as Servants of Jesus

A Christian can perform any good work as a ministry to Christ, to the glory of God. For this reason, the worker must do his job “with enthusiasm,” since he is serving Christ and doing the will of God.

But in order for us to render good service, first, we need to know how to serve God properly. Do you know what God desires of us? Since the Bible is God’s Life Manual, wouldn’t it be possible we would find God’s desires in it? Are we spending enough time to read God’s Word in order to cultivate biblical motives in our lives?

The Motives of the Heart: Right vs. Wrong

I’ve written about the deceitfulness of the heart and why we must not completely rely on it. The heart has the ability to lead us astray if we follow it blindly without first consulting God, either through His written word or prayer. Why? It’s because the heart has its motives: right or wrong.

Some of the wrong motives include pleasing men to earn their salvation. Based on God’s Word in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Ephesians 6:6, those are wrong motives. Do you only care about pleasing people?

Are you one of those who work hard only while the boss is watching? And when the boss steps out of the room you go back to doing some personal things? This is happening today. How many times have I read complaints against (government) employees who’d rather be on social media instead of attending to their customers’ needs?

Colossians 3:17

You may ask, “What then are some right motives?”

To have the right motives as workers mean doing our job in a way that does not only make our boss happy with our service, but it also pleases God. It means working with a good attitude and without complaining. Every Christian must work hard and gives his employer a full day’s work for his pay. To do anything less is to steal from your employer.

Before salvation, it is impossible to please God, because we are not able to have the right motives. Only after salvation is anyone able to have godly motives. Matthew 22:37-39, John 14:15, and 1 Corinthians 10:31 are three passages that should teach us how to live for God in general.

Challenge for the Christian Employee

If we are genuinely born again believers, shouldn’t we want to glorify God? If we are genuinely saved, shouldn’t we want to follow His Word? If we are genuinely saved, shouldn’t we want to love God and love others? It does not matter what unbelievers or carnal Christians say. You are not accountable to them.

Since we still have a sinful nature, we need to choose to have godly motives. What are your motivations? Do they glorify God or do they fulfill your selfish desires?

Why is the Heart Deceitful?

Why is the Heart Deceitful?

We are exhorted by the Word of God to not lean on our own understanding, but to trust in the Lord with all our heart (Proverbs 3:5). Yet, oftentimes, we choose to trust our own heart; we choose to trust ourselves. Do you know that trusting the heart is just another way of trusting in man?

Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” Now, why did the prophet Jeremiah say this? Why did he warn the people to be cautious about the directions and inclinations of the heart?

It has everything to do with what happened to the people of Judah. Instead of giving their devotion and obedience to the true and living God, who had blessed them, the Jews followed the dictates of their evil hearts which eventually led them astray.

The Folly of Trusting You Own Heart

It’s interesting that the Bible calls it foolishness to trust and follow your own heart.

The heart of every problem is the problem in the heart. Indeed, our heart often deceives us. It convinces us that heart-fulfillment is the key to happiness. Our heart tells us that if we would just be true to it and fulfill all its desires then we will be happy. However, what we desire is often not what we need.

But the human heart is not only deceitful but also desperately wicked. By following their heart without judging it by the measure of God’s truth, many people have been led to disobedience, rebellion, and eventually great sorrow. I’d say the advice to “always follow your heart” is not good advice at all.

God Has Given Us a New Heart

As believers under the New Covenant, we have a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26), we have been made a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17), and have become a new man according to the image of our Creator (Colossians 3:10; Ephesians 4:24).

Ezekiel 36:26

Although there are still some elements of sin and flesh remaining in us and we still have to deal with inward deceit and wickedness, we can be confident that the Lord will give us the strength and grace to overcome. We just need to trust in the Lord to guide and lead us and allow Him to carry out His plans and purpose in our lives.

God searches the heart and mind and knows exactly how to reward each one of us. If we want to know how our hearts are like, we must read the Word and let the Spirit teach us.

God is Continually Transforming Our Hearts

In Philippians 2:12-13, the apostle Paul exhorts us to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling because it is God who is working in us.”

A very important note in regard to this verse. Paul is definitely not saying that we must work to earn our salvation. Rather, Paul calls the Philippians (and every believer today) to put forth real effort into their Christian lives. The Christian is to make evident in every area of their lives the salvation that God has given them freely.

God does not automatically make you a sanctified Christian. You have to put the work into it to foster that relationship with God.

It’s kind’ a like a plant. After a seed is planted in fertile soil, it sprouts. That is when salvation occurs, but it is only a baby plant. Now, it needs to grow, but if it does not have the right conditions, it can’t grow.

We need the water of the Word and sunlight. God is described in many places in the Bible as being the Light (Psalm 27:1; Isaiah 60:19; John 8:12; 1 John 1:5). We need an unobstructed view of the Light. We need to make sure we do not have any obstructions in our view.

God is our main priority, our main focus. And our main motive is our love for God. You may want to read Deuteronomy 5:29 again.

Has God Changed Your Heart?

As people, we are predisposed to sin. Why? It’s because our hearts desire to sin. We are not able to change that. Romans 7:18 says “nothing good dwells in men.” So when God saves us, He saves us by first allowing our hearts to change.

As I said earlier, sanctification is not automatic after salvation. We did not automatically get a heart for God the moment we got born again. Rather, we need to allow God to work in us and through us. And it starts by submitting to the will of God as shown by our obedience to Him and His commandments.

In his appeal to Israel, Moses urged the people to remember the majesty of God and respect the Word of God. He quoted Yahweh’s own words, “Oh, that they had such a heart in them that they would fear Me and always keep all My commandments, that it might be well with them and with their children forever” (Deuteronomy 5:29)!

Obedience is always a matter of the heart, and if we love the Lord, we will keep His commandments (John 14:15, 21-24). There is no conflict between the greatness of God and the grace of God, His transcendence and His immanence, for we can love the Lord and fear the Lord with the same heart (Psalm 2:10-12; 34:8-9).

Why is the Heart Deceitful?

As God changes our hearts, we will fear Him more and more. When we love Him, we will keep His commandments. God does not want us to be petrified of Him. He is our Father.

Romans 8:15 says, “For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’”

We are children of God and He wants to bless us for our obedience. Jesus said in Matthew 11:29-30 that we can “swap our burden of sin, for His burden is light.” Why? It’s because we want to live for Him.

Are you serious about putting your heart, soul, mind, and strength into loving God? If not, why not start now? God has done so much for you, how are you going to say thank you to Him?

Closing Words

Why is the human heart deceitful and wicked? Because it often desires things that are contrary to what God wants for us. And if we let our own hearts make decisions without taking into consideration what the Word of God says, we will be led astray.

Let us learn from the Jewish people who allowed their hearts to turn away from the Lord and His truth. Consequently, they made unwise decisions and plunged the nation into ruin.

A Post-Truth Society

A Post-Truth Society

If you have been closely following Pope Francis in the news and on YouTube, you must have noticed how he is going further and further away from biblical truth. Yet, people do not seem to care. Are we now living in a post-truth society? Whatever happened to objective truth?

Recently, Pope Francis said that Christians should not evangelize and tell others the Gospel. 

Well, I’d say that is very unbiblical considering what Jesus has spoken to His disciples before He ascended into heaven.

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen.” – Matthew 28:19-20

Is the Truth still Absolute?

I think it is interesting that depression and suicide rates are at record highs. Why do so many people feel like life is pointless and hopeless? One other thing, I think it is also interesting that every other religion is accepted except Christianity in our relativistic society.

If all religions are relative, isn’t that an absolute statement itself? How can we say that there is evil in the world if there is no absolute standard of right and wrong? There are too many contradictions between the world religions. How can they all lead to heaven?

Why should we say the Holocaust and War are bad if there is no standard of good and evil? What makes your feelings any more right than anyone else’s?

Jesus said in John 14:6 that only He could satisfy the requirements for anyone to reach God. We all are sinners whether we like it or not and God is holy. Nothing we could ever do or say will make us worthy of salvation. As Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

Clearly, we cannot earn our salvation. That is why Jesus had to be God and Man, virgin-born, live a sinless life, die and shed his blood to pay for our sin debt, and rise again bodily so that we might have eternal life.

That is the gospel, and the truth for today and forever.

Sharing the Gospel

Contrary to what Pope Francis said I am going to evangelize the lost because they need the truth. I will not stand by and watch sinners die and end up in hell without hearing the truth that God loves them.

Have you accepted God’s free gift of salvation from your sin and desire to change your direction? If not, why not do it right now? “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).

Jesus is coming soon. In fact, He might be coming sooner than we are expecting. Are you ready to meet Him in the air?

Some may say, “Well, I’ve heard preachers say that Jesus is coming again a long time ago and He hasn’t come yet. Perhaps He is not coming back at all.” I completely understand this argument. But 2 Peter 3:9 says this:

2 Peter 3:9

Closing Thoughts

Do not be deceived. Be careful not to be sucked into this post-truth society that we see today. Receive Jesus Christ now as your Lord and Savior, and then go out there to share this good news to the lost. Contrary to what Pope Francis said, Christians must share the Gospel with urgency because they have been commissioned by none other than the Lord Himself.

Christian, will you commit to God that you will give the gospel to those that God puts in your path?